Sem Shilimela’s participation in the Men’s 55kg Freestyle Wrestling competition at the Olympics came to an end when he lost 3-1 to Kyong Il Yang of North Korea in his second fight.
Shilimela had earlier lost 3-0 to Russia’s Dzhamal Otarsultanov, but since the Russian made it through to the final, Shilimela got a second chance to fight for the bronze medal in the Repechage round.
Shilimela gave a good account of himself but the North Korean speed and strength told as he took a 7-2 lead at the end of the first round.
In the second round, Il Yong built up a 6-0 lead before the fight was stopped after 1 minute 31 seconds.
Earlier, Shilimela lost his first round fight 3-0 on points against Dzhamal Otarsultanov of Russia.
Otarsultanov comfortably won the fight 3-0 on points after dominating the bout from the start.
Shilimela held his own in the first two-minute period when the Russian held a narrow 3-0 lead, but in the second period the Russian quickly took a 7-0 lead and the referee stopped the fight after 44 seconds.
Afterwards Shilimela said that he had given his best but was beaten by a stronger and more experienced opponent.
“Russia is a very strong wrestling nation and my opponent has won a couple of international championships already, so he is a very strong opponent. I hope that he is going to the final. I am still alive in the tournament and hope that I can compete again in the repechage round,” he said.
“I did the best I could, but had to wrestle one of the strongest opponents in that weight. In the Olympic Games experience counts, which I do not have yet. I think that I have to improve my strength in the future to get better results,” he added.
Otarsultanov is one of the favourites for gold. Although he has never wrestled at the senior world championships, he is a three-time European champion and at the Russian Olympic trials he beat two-time world champion Viktor Lebedev for the trip to London. He is also a two-time junior world champion.
Otarsultanov duly made it to the final when he beat Kyong Il Yang of North Korea 3-1 in the quarterfinals and Daulet Niyazbekov of Kazakhstan 3-1 in the semifinals.