Denied a chance to go for a third Olympic gold earlier this year, Roman Vlasov from Russia made sure he would not miss out on a third world title and first in six years.
Vlasov chalked up a meticulous and hard-fought 2-1 victory over 2020 European champion Sanan Suleymanov from Azerbaijan to take the 77kg gold in one of four Greco-Roman finals on the seventh day of the World Championships in Oslo on Friday night.
“I was super tired, I couldn’t even celebrate as I usually do,” Vlasov said. “I left all my power and energy on the mat.”
Vlasov, a gold medalist at the 2012 London and 2016 Rio Olympics, was left devastated when he was passed over for a place on the Russian Olympic Committee team at the Tokyo Olympics after losing in the semifinals of the Poland Open in June.
“The last time I won the world championships was in 2015, before in 2011. It’s been a long time,” Vlasov said. “I missed these emotions. To be the best in the world is the thing I’ve been dreaming about. It’s the thing I think about when I wake up in the morning before going to training.”