MUNGYEONG, South Korea -- U.S. Army Sgt. Justin Lester took silver Oct. 10 in Greco-Roman wrestling in the 75-kilogram division at the Military World Games here.
Lester beat opponents from China, Poland and Egypt before losing in the final match to Korea's Jin Hyeok Kim, 6-2.
"It was hard to get my opponent to open up," Lester said about his final bout. "When someone refuses to wrestle, it's hard to score points."
"I was chasing the guy the whole match," he said.
Lester said he would push the pace even more if he had the championship bout to fight over again. Toward the end of the match, Kim began to engage, Lester said, but it was too late to score enough points.
"I kept my cool and felt good the whole match," he said. "I felt loose the whole tournament."
Lester scored nearly 30 points in the four matches he fought Oct. 10 at the MunGyeong Indoor Gymnasium.
The biggest controversy was with Chinese wrestler Gele Qing. Lester threw him for four points and the Chinese challenged it. But the video replay wouldn't work. Referees reversed the points without seeing the video, Lester said. Despite that, Lester won the match 10-0.
His first-round match was against Egypt's Ibrahim Ghanem and Lester won that 8-0. His next match China's Qing before going on to the semi-finals to beat Poland's Dawid Klinek,10-2.
Lester said he enjoyed the Conseil International du Sport Militaire or CISM World Games despite having to wait a week to compete. It gave him a chance to watch the other wrestlers, he said.
Army Cpl. Matthew Lamb came the closest to winning another medal. He took fifth place in the 130 kg Greco-Roman category after losing to Poland's Lukasz Banak.
"It was exciting getting to meet all the other athletes," from other nations, Lester said, "especially since every one of them is military."
I'm very thankful for the Army and WCAP (World Class Athlete Program) for giving me a chance to represent the country," he said.
Lester said his mission from here on out is to qualify for the Olympic Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro "and bring home a medal for the United States."
Next he competes in the New York Athletic Club Tournament in early November, then on to a wrestling tournament in Scandinavia in late November.