The oldest of contact sports takes a grip on America

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The Independent Online
Luis Sarmiento Hernhandez, of Cuba, manages to get on top of Bilayat Agayev Azerbaijan in a preliminary bout of the 57kg category in the Greco- Roman wrestling competition in Atlanta yesterday. The sport, which is the oldest form of wrestling in the world, has been the traditional domain of the Russians in the past, but the Americans are expected to put up a strong challenge on their home turf. A strong local favourite is Dennis Hall, the first American to win a World Championship in the sport, but he needed overtime to beat Seref Eroglu of Turkey in the preliminaries.

Two other Americans, Dan Henderson - the first American to fight in the sport internationally - and Rodney Smith, won to give them a strong chance of improving their tally in a sport in which they have won only seven medals

Photograph: David Ashdown

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