Sam Hazewinkel got a chance to follow his family’s Olympic tradition when he qualified to compete at 121 pounds in London on Friday, Aug. 10.
Unfortunately for the former Oklahoma All-American, he would only competed in one freestyle match, a 3-1, 2-0 loss to Daulet Niyazbekov of Kazahkstan, who later lost a semifinal match to Russia’s Dzhamal Otarsultanov, which eliminated the 29-year-old native of Pensacola, Fla.
“It’s kind of disappointing, said Hazewinkel, whose father and uncle competed in Greco-Roman wrestling in the 1968 and 1972 Olympics. “I absolutely love being out here and I came to win. It’s going to bug me for a while, no doubt. I’m going to keep training and try to get back here again.”
Niyazbekov, the former World bronze medalist, got on the board first at the 19-second mark with a two-point exposure from a front headlock. Hazewinkel earned a point a little over 10 seconds later to bring the match to 2-1, but Niyazbekov reversed him back at the :49 mark and hung on to win 3-1. Hazewinkel tried an arm spin late in the period, but wasn’t able to score.
“I knew he had a front headlock,” Hazewinkel said. “But it kind of caught me off-guard because I had my tie and he still snapped (into the turn.) I felt like I was in better shape and I had a lot more in me than he did.”
There was quite a bit less offense in the second as both guys wrestled pretty conservatively. Hazewinkel pulled Niyazbekov’s color in the ball draw, and then was driven off the mat two seconds into the leg clinch when Niyazbekov switched from a high crotch to a double right at the whistle.
The U.S. coaches challenged the call, saying the official still had Hazewinkel’s hand in the air, but the challenge was denied. Hazewinkel also said Niyazbekov failed to lock before switching to the double.
“The ref was still holding my hand up,” Hazewinkel said. “I didn’t have my defense out there. It was a little upsetting because I thought I had a chance in that. That’s why you can’t take it to the ball grab.
“I thought the kid went right to the double leg too. You have to touch hands in the single. There was a lot there that could have been called. But the fact is I shouldn’t have put myself in that position (of being in the clinch).”