Council Bluffs native and recent University of Iowa standout Thomas Gilman will wrestle for a gold medal at the Senior men’s freestyle World Championships at noon Friday.
Gilman won four straight tournament matches at 57 kilograms (125.5 pounds) in Paris to earn the finals berth. The 23-year-old is competing in his first senior-level championships, and will be the lone United States representative in Friday’s gold medal round.
After notching three decisions and an impressive quarterfinal win by technical superiority in the Central Time Zone’s early morning hours, Gilman will face Yuki Takahashi of Japan for the 57-kilogram world title at AccorHotels Arena.
The unseeded and 19th-ranked Gilman trailed Ukraine’s Andriy Yatsenko 2-0 in the first minute of his opening match, but fended off ankle lace attempts and ultimately strung together single-leg takedowns to win, 5-2. After a tight 3-0 victory against Reza Atrinagharchi of Iran in the second round, Gilman opened up his offense against Uzbekistan’s Nodirjon Safarov for a 12-1 quarterfinals stoppage.
Patient on defense and aggressive in the tie, Gilman muscled his way to the semifinals where he outlasted North Korea’s Hak-jin Jong in a back-and-forth match that featured pushouts and scoring near the edge of the mat.
Gilman could become the fifth former Hawkeye wrestler to win a gold medal at the World Championships, and the first since Bill Zadick in 2006.
Men’s freestyle championship matches begin at noon (CDT). Live viewing is available at trackwrestling.com ($9.99 for tournament) or on NBC’s Olympic Channel. A tape-delayed broadcast will be shown at 6 p.m. on NBC Sports Network.
GILMAN’S TOURNAMENT PATH
First round: Decision over Ukraine’s Andriy Yatsenko, 5-2
Second round: Decision over Iran’s Reza Atrinagharchi, 3-0
Quarterfinals: Technical superiority over Uzbekistan’s Nodirjon Safarov, 12-1
Semifinals: Decision over North Korea’s Hak-jin Jong, 5-4