Takhti Cup

23 Countries Set to Compete in Freestyle Takhti Cup

By Ali Feiz

The 38th Freestyle Takhti Cup will be held Thursday and Friday in Tabriz, Iran. The field is expected to include aproximately190 wrestlers representing 23 different countries. 

Below is a look at the top competitors in each weight class. 

57kg: Mongolian Erdenebat among favorites at lightweight 

The favorites at lightweight are two-time world bronze medal winner and Asian champion Bekhbayar ERDENEBAT (MGL), 2016 Asian champion Sandeep TOMAR (IND) and Dmitrii AKSENOV (RUS), who placed third at the 2017 Russian championships.

In the absence of Hassan RAHIMI (IRI), it seems best Iranian representative will be Nader HAJAGHANIA (IRI), who placed third at the 2017 Asian Indoor Games.
 
Asian Indoor Games silver medalist Gabit TOLEPBAY (KAZ) also competes at 57kg. Tolepbay beat Hajaghania in the Indoor Games semifinals by fall. A potential rematch would be interesting. 

61kg: Bulgaria, Turkey wrestlers seek gold

Two main rivals of 61kg are U23 world bronze medalist Suleyman ATLI (TUR) and 2015 world bronze medalist Vladimir DUBOV (BUL). Dubov placed fifth at the Rio Olympics. The Takhti Cup will be a test for him with the new rules.

65kg: Iranian Ehsanpoor in new weight class

Behnam EHSANPOOR (IRI), an Iranian national team member at the Olympics and World Championships, moved up to 65kg. It's his first appearance in the new weight class. 

Viktor RASSADIN (RUS), who placed second at the 2017 Russian Championships, will be a notable wrestler at 65kg. Other contenders include 2016 junior world champion Pejman BYABANI (IRI), 2015 world bronze medalist Vasyl SHUPTAR (UKR) and 2015 European bronze medalist Volodya FRANGULYAN (ARM). 

70kg: Battle of world medalists

Two world medalists step on the mat at 70kg. Nurlan BEKZHANOV (KAZ) and Uulu Elaman DOGDURBEK (KGZ) won won silver and bronze at the 2016 World Championships.

Turkey also sends strong team, which includes 2016 European silver medal winner Musfata KAYA (TUR) and 2016 junior world champion Enes USLU (TUR) at 70kg.

74kg: Gor against Iranians

Two-time world medal winner Yakup GOR (TUR) has a difficult job as two talented Iranians are looking to turn in strong performances for spots on the Iranian team at the upcoming World Cup and Asian Championships. Hamed RASHIDI (IRI) is a 2017 Asian bronze medalist, while Saeid DADASHPOUR (IRI) is a 2017 Asian Indoor Games bronze medal winner.

79kg: Veterans Azcuy, Shabanau in new weight class

Cuba and Belarus send experienced wrestlers to the Takhti Cup. 2012 Olympic bronze medal winner and two-time world medalist Livan Lopez AZCUY (CUB) competes at 79kg for the first time. Three-time world bronze medalist Ali SHABANAU (BLR), 2017 European silver medalist Murad SULEYMANOV (AZE) and two-time junior world medalist Ahmad BAZRI (IRI) are main rivals of Azcuy in 79kg.

86kg: Youngsters eye title

86kg is expected to see young wrestlers battling for medals. Two-time junior world medalist Gadzhimurad MAGOMEDSAIDOV (AZE), as well as two Iranians are the top wrestlers in the weight class.  

Kamran GHASEMPOUR (IRI) has had strong performances of late. Esmaeil MAHMOUDI (IRI) is another youngster who has an eye on the title.

92kg: Surrounded by Iranians 

Former junior world champion and 2017 Yarygin silver medalist Mohammad Javad EBRAHIMI (IRI) moved up from 86kg and wants to prove himself in the Iran national team lineup. 

Former Asian Games champion Jamal MIRZAEI(IRI) is back on the mat after an unsuccessful experience at 97kg. Reza BAYAT (IRI) and Ibrahim BOLUKBASI (TUR) are two others to watch in the weight class. 

97kg: Mohammadi seeks title

Amir MOHAMMADI (IRI) competed at the 2017 World Championships instead of Reza YAZDANI, who is out of competitions due to injury.

Now Mohammadi needs to win a 97kg title to be among the Iranians competing at the 2018 World Cup and Asian Championships.

Asian junior champion Danial SHARIATI (IRI) is young but motivated to prove himself at the Takhti Cup.

125kg: Experienced Saidau (BLR) among young rivals

2016 Olympics bronze medalist Ibrahim SAIDAU (BLR) is in the Belarus lineup but he has some young rivals.
U23 world bronze medalist Danylo KARTAVYI(UKR), junior world bronze medal winner Amir Reza AMIRI (IRI) and 2017 junior world silver medalist Naeim HASSANZADEH (IRI) are young contenders at heavyweight.

Takhti Cup schedule

Thursday
7:15 a.m:  Medical Examination
7:30: Weigh in (All weight categories)
10 to 14: Elimination rounds
15 to 16:30: Elimination rounds
16:30 to 17: Opening ceremony
17 to 21: Elimination rounds and semifinals 

Friday
7:45 a.m: Weigh in (All weight categories)
10 to 13: Repechage
13 to 16: Final matches
Expected rosters of the teams:

Mongolia (4 wrestlers)
57kg- Bekhbayar ERDENEBAT
65kg- Tulga TUMUR-OCHIR
97kg- Batzul ULZIISAIKHAN
125kg- Lkhagvagerel MUNKHTUR

Turkey (22 wrestlers)
57kg- Ali KARABOGA
57kg- Ismail BASKA
61kg- Saban KIZILTAS
61kg- Suleyman ATLI
70kg- Zafer DAMA
70kg- Enes USLU
70kg-Servet COSKUN
70kg- Musfata KAYA
74kg-Ilyas GUNES
74kg- Halil SARIKAYA
74kg- Yakup GOR
79kg- Ayhan SUCU
79kg-Abdulkadir OZMEN
79kg- Ender COSKUN
86kg- Ahmet BILICI
86kg- Osman GOCEN
92kg- Ibrahim BOLUKBASI
92kg- Semih YAZICI
97kg- Salih ERINC
97kg- Faruk AKKOYUN
125kg- Abdullah OMAC
125kg- Oktay GUNGOR

Ukraine (10 wrestlers)
57kg- Armen ARAKELIAN
61kg- Vitaliy HURSKYY
65kg- Vasyl SHUPTAR
70kg- Semen RADULOV
74kg- Ivan KUSYAK
79kg- Rustam DUDAIEV
86kg- Mraz DZHAFARIAN
92kg- Liubomyr SAGALIUK
97kg- Murazi MCHEDLIDZE
125kg- Danylo KARTAVYI

Kazakhstan (16 wrestlers)
57kg- Azamat TOIBEK
57kg- Gabit TOLEPBAY
57kg- Berdakh PRIMBAYEV
61kg- Yeldos ABIKENOV
61kg- Kuanysh ZHAKSYBAY
61kg- Madiyar BURKHAN
61kg- Nurlan TURGAN
65kg- Sayatbek OKASSOV
70kg- Nurlan BEKZHANOV
74kg- Bolat SAKAYEV
74kg- Bakhtiyar IZBASSAROV
74kg- Alexandr GOLTSMAN
79kg- Nurdaulet KOKTEUBAYEV
86kg- Saken AITZHANOV
86kg- Elkhan ASSADOV
86kg- Zhiger ZAKIROV

India (4 wrestlers)
57kg- Sandeep TOMAR
74kg- Parveen PARVEEN
92kg- Deepak PUNIA
97kg- Viky VIKY

Azerbaijan (10 wrestlers)
61kg- Parviz IBRAHIMOV
61kg- Elchin VALIYEV
70kg- Panah ILYASLI
70kg- Joshgun AZIMOV
79kg- Murad SULEYMANOV
86kg-Gadzhimurad MAGOMEDSAIDOV
86kg- Ibrahim YUSUBOV 
92kg- Javid SADIGOV
97kg- Roman BAKIROV 
125kg- Umar ISRAILOV

Hungary (4 wrestlers)
79kg- Péter NAGY
79kg- Mihály NAGY
92kg- Bendegúz TÓTH
125kg- Mihály NAGY

Bulgaria (4 wrestlers)
61kg- Vladimir DUBOV
65kg- Filip NOVACHKOV
74kg- Ali-Pasha UMARPASHAEV
79kg- Engin ISMAIL

Belarus (6 wrestlers)
57 kg- Dzimchyk RYNCHYNAU
61 kg- Asadulla LACHINAU
61 kg- Niurhun SKRABIN
79 kg- Ali SHABANAU
86 kg- Raman CHYTADZE
125 kg- Ibrahim SAIDAU

Armenia (12 wrestlers)
57kg- Mihran JABURYAN
61kg- Garik BARSEGHYAN
65kg- Volodya FRANGULYAN
70kg- Valter MARGARYAN
70kg- Narek SIRUNYAN
74kg- Grigor GRIGORYAN
74kg- Davit APOYAN
79kg- Varujhan KAJOYAN
86kg- Marzpet GALSTYAN
92kg- Shamir ATYAN
92kg- Arman MKRTCHYAN
125kg- Andranik GALSTYAN

Kirgizstan (10 wrestlers)
57kg- Almaz SMANBEKOV
61kg- Ulukbek ZHOLDOSHBEKOV
65kg- Ernazar AKMATALIEV
70kg- Uulu Elaman DOGDURBEK
70kg- Mansur SYRGAK UULU
74kg- Bekzhan KAMCHYBEKOV
79kg- Atai IZABEKOV 
86kg- Dinislam TAALAIBEK UULU
92kg- Baktyiar KARAGUL UULU 
97kg- Aibek USUPOV

Russia (2 wrestlers)
57kg- Dmitrii AKSENOV
65kg- Viktor RASSADIN

Georgia (12 wrestlers)
61kg- Levan MURTSKHVALADZE 
61kg- Giorgi REVAZISHVILI
65kg- Shota PHARTENADZE 
70kg- Giorgi SULAVA
74kg- Aleksander JATCHVADZE 
74kg- Giorgi LOBJANIDZE
86kg- Tornike ALADASHVILI
86kg- Dato PIRUZASHVILI
92kg- Davit KHUTSISHVILI
92kg- Iuza TSERTSVADZE 
97kg- Zviad METREVELI
125kg- Rolandi ANDRIADZE

Turkmenistan (10 wrestlers)
57kg-Meretmuhammet ATAYEV
61kg- Gerchek HEMRAYEV
65kg- Saparmyrat MYRODOV
70kg- Batyr ORAZGYLYJOV
74kg- Dovletmyrat ORAZGYLYJOV
79kg- Sahergeldi SAPARMYRADOV
86kg- Arslan HUDAYBERDIYEV
92kg- Selimmuhammet MUHADYYEV
97kg- Sohbet BELLIYEV
125kg- Yazmyrat GOKJAYEV

Afghanistan (10 wrestlers)
57kg- Hamidullah ABDULLAH
61kg- Zubaidullah TIMORI
65kg- Malik Jan SADEED
70kg- Mushtaq JABARI
74kg- Abdul Ghafar QADERI
79kg- Farhad MALIKZADA
86kg- Abdul Hai FAQIRI
92kg- Noor Ahmad AHMADI
97kg- Bezhand AMIRI
125kg- Sayed Khalid HASHIMI

Tajikistan (7 wrestlers)
61kg- Dzhamshed SHARIFOV
65kg- Azizbeki SHARIFZODA
70kg- Sorbon ABDULKHAEV
74kg- Gulomdzhon SHARIPOV
86kg- Bakhodur KODIROV
125kg- Farkhod ANAKULOV
Sakhob NIMATZODA

Wrestlers of Latin America (6 wrestlers)
57kg- Cristian Jose Mox ARIAS (GUA)
61kg-Agustin Alejandro DESTRIBATS (ARG)
65kg- Ipuz Hernan GUZMAN (COL)
70kg- Luis Isaias Portillo MEJJIA (ESA)
79kg- Livan Lopez AZCUY (CUB)
86kg- Pool Edinson Ambrocio GREIFO (PER)

Iran (38 wrestlers)
57kg- Nader HAJAGHANIA – Hamid KHALILI – Mehran REZAZADEH – Mohammad TAHMASEBI
61kg- Mohammad RAMEZANPOUR – Bagher YAKHKESHI – Ali HAJAGHANIA
65kg- Morteza GHIYASI – Shayan HAMZE – Pejman BYABANI – Behnam EHSANPOOR
70kg- Mohammadreza SARGOO – Nima ESHGHAGHI – Hossein MOSTAFAVI – Milad TAHMASEBI
74kg- Hamed RASHIDI – Omid KHEDMATI – Hamidreza ZARRINPEYKAR – Saeid DADASHPOUR
79kg- Omid HASSANTABAR – Aram RAHIMI – Mohammad MOTAGHINIA – Ahmad BAZRI
86kg- Kamran GHASEMPOUR – Masoud MADADI - Esmaeil MAHMOUDI
92kg- Mohammad Javad EBRAHIMI – Jamal MIRZAEI – Arashk MOHEBI – Reza BAYAT
97kg- Abazar ESLAMI – Alireza GOUDARZI – Amir MOHAMMADI – Danial SHARIATI
125kg- Jafar SHAMS NATERI – Elyas BAKHTIARI – Amirreza AMIRI – Naeim HASSANZADEH- Ahmad MIRZAPOUR