Two-time Olympic champion Roman Vlasov has been replaced as Russia’s 77kg representative at the European OG Qualifier by Aleksandr Chekhirkin.
Coincidentally, the last time Chekhirkin replaced Vlasov as Russia’s guy, was also in Budapest. Vlasov tore his knee less than two weeks before the ’18 World Championships, and Chekhirkin stepped in and claimed world gold at 77kg.
He won six bouts en route to gold and captured wins over world medalists Viktor Nemes (SRB), Elvin Mursaliyev (AZE), Alex Kessidis (SWE) before edging eventual ’19 world champion Tamas Lorincz (HUN), 3-1, in the finals.
If Chekhirkin does qualify this weekend, there hasn’t been any indication of who will receive the nod for Russian when the Tokyo Olympics roll around. That will be determined at a later date.