Juha Ahokas

Juha Matti Ahokas (born September 18, 1969 in Kokkola) is a retired amateur Finnish Greco-Roman wrestler, who competed in the men's super heavyweight category.[1] Ahokas has won thirty Finnish championship titles, collected four medals (one gold, two silver, and one bronze) at the European Championships, and also represented his nation Finland in four editions of the Olympic Games (1988, 1992, 1996, and 2004). Throughout his sporting career, Ahokas trained for Nurmon Jymy Wrestling Club in Seinäjoki under his father and personal coach Risto Ahokas.

Juha Ahokas
Personal information
Full nameJuha Matti Ahokas
Nickname(s)Nalle
Nationality Finland
Born (1969-09-18) 18 September 1969 (age 51)
Kokkola, Finland
Height1.89 m (6 ft 2 12 in)
Weight128 kg (282 lb)
Sport
SportWrestling
StyleGreco-Roman
ClubNurmon Jymy
CoachRisto Ahokas
Medal record
Men's Greco-Roman wrestling
Representing  Finland
European Championships
Gold medal – first place 2003 Belgrade 120 kg
Silver medal – second place 1997 Kouvola 125 kg
Silver medal – second place 2006 Moscow 130 kg
Bronze medal – third place 2002 Seinäjoki 130 kg

Ahokas made his official debut, as an 18-year-old teen, at the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul, where he lost the second round of the elimination pool to U.S. wrestler Dennis Koslowski in the men's heavyweight division. Four years later, at the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona, Ahokas competed in the super heavyweight category (130 kg) and slammed Greece's Panagiotis Poikilidis off the mat with a 1–0 sudden death lead to finish strongly in seventh.

Determined to return to the Olympic scene and medal, Ahokas entered the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta as a top medal favorite in the men's 130 kg class. He beat Sweden's Tomas Johansson in his opening match, but suffered a tremendous fall from the unbeatable Russian and reigning Olympic champion Aleksandr Karelin in the third round.[2] Facing off against Ukraine's Petro Kotok in the fourth repechage, Ahokas could not score a single point to subdue his opponent and lost the match with a fourteenth-place finish.[3]

Despite a stunning upset from his third Games, Ahokas took home his first medal at the 1997 European Championships in Kouvola, and continued to flourish his sporting success in the late 1990s and early 2000s, until he wrestled Hungary's Mihály Deák-Bárdos for the gold in the 120-kg division at the 2003 European Championships in Belgrade, Serbia and Montenegro.[4]

Eight years after his last Olympics and having missed the previous Games due to back injury, Ahokas qualified for the Finnish squad, as a 34-year-old veteran, in the men's 120 kg class at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens. Earlier in the process, he received a ticket and rounded out the seventh spot from the 2003 World Wrestling Championships in Créteil, France.[5] Aged and frail, Ahokas lost two straight matches to his former rival Deák-Bárdos (0–3) and Iran's Sajjad Barzi through a 1–2 tight brawl in the prelim pool, finishing only in seventeenth place out of twenty super heavyweight wrestlers.[6][7]

Ahokas ended his illustrious sporting career with another silver medal at the 2006 European Championships in Moscow, before he officially retired by the following year due to spinal and shoulder injuries sustained in the past.[8][9]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Evans, Hilary; Gjerde, Arild; Heijmans, Jeroen; Mallon, Bill; et al. "Juha Ahokas". Olympics at Sports-Reference.com. Sports Reference LLC. Archived from the original on 17 April 2020. Retrieved 14 June 2014.
  2. ^ Araton, Harvey (23 July 1996). "Atlanta: Day 4 – Wrestling; Karelin Puts His Shoulder Into Tough Victory". New York Times. Retrieved 14 June 2014. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  3. ^ "Atlanta 1996: Wrestling – Men's Greco-Roman 130kg" (PDF). Atlanta 1996. LA84 Foundation. p. 206. Retrieved 23 May 2014. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  4. ^ "Juha Ahokas wrestles to gold in European Championships". Helsingin Sanomat. 26 May 2003. Archived from the original on 14 July 2014. Retrieved 14 June 2014. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  5. ^ Abbott, Gary (28 July 2004). "Olympic Games preview at 120 kg/264.5 lbs. in men's Greco-Roman". USA Wrestling. The Mat. Archived from the original on 22 May 2014. Retrieved 21 May 2014. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  6. ^ "Wrestling: Men's Greco-Roman 120kg". Athens 2004. BBC Sport. 15 August 2004. Retrieved 23 September 2013. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  7. ^ "Ahokas joutuu heti kovaan kyytiin" [Ahokas has been immediately picked up by the mighty] (in Finnish). Turun Sanomat. 25 August 2004. Retrieved 14 June 2014. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  8. ^ "Ahokas lopettaa painiuransa" [Ahokas ends his wrestling career] (in Finnish). Turun Sanomat. 2 November 2007. Retrieved 14 June 2014. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  9. ^ "Juha Ahokas jättää painimolskit" [Juha Ahokas leaves wrestling] (in Finnish). MTV Finland. 1 November 2007. Retrieved 14 June 2014. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)

External linksEdit