Iran World Team Trials

Three Yazdani’s Win Iran Freestyle Team Trials, Ghasemi Retires

By Ali Feiz

The small town of Jouybar, located in the Mazandaran province, introduced yet another talent to Iranian wrestling as three wrestlers from the Yazdani family won a spot on Iran’s freestyle team for 2019 World Championships in Kazakhstan.

Amir YAZDANI won the 65kg title in the Iran team trials, as his older cousin and two-time world champion Reza YAZDANI topped 97kg. Their relative, world and Olympic champion Hassan YAZDANI dominated at 86kg and also punched his ticket to Nur-Sultan, too. 

Iran’s coaching staff decided to hold team trials in only five weights and will select other five wrestlers according to their performance from the entirety of the 2019 season.

65kg- Winner: Amir Mohammad YAZDANI
The youngster Amir Yazdani, a cousin to Reza YAZDANI, finished the 65kg competition with two wins and a loss. Iman SADEGHI had the same record, but the cadet world silver and U23 Asian silver-medal winner beat Sadeghi, 3-2 in the first round to be the best wrestler in this weight.

His sister Zahra YAZDANI is also Asian Alysh Indoor Games champion. 

65kg
Round 1

Amir Mohammad YAZDANI df. Iman SADEGHI, 3-2
Morteza GHIYASI df. Peyman BIYABANI, 3-2

Round 2
Iman SADEGHI df. Peyman BIYABANI, 6-4
Amir Mohammad YAZDANI df. Morteza GHIYASI, 5-4

Round 3
Peyman BIYABANI df. Amir Mohammad YAZDANI, 6-1
Iman SADEGHI df. Morteza GHIYASI, 2-1

74kg Winner: Reza AFZALI
Former Asian champion Reza AFZALI returned to Iran national team at 74kg after a five years absence. Afzali had three victories on the day. The first came against 2019 Asian bronze medal winner Mohammad NOKODI. Then, Afzali defeated two-time world medal winner Seyed MOHAMMADI and capped off his day with a win against Hamed RASHIDI. 

AFZALI competed for Iran at 2014 World Championships where he finished in 13thplace. 

74kg- Round 1
Mohammad NOKHODI df. Seyed Ahmad MOHAMMADI, 4-4
Reza AFZALI df. Hamed RASHIDI, 4-0

Round 2
Reza AFZALI df. Seyed Ahmad MOHAMMADI, 9-7
Hamed RASHIDI df. Mohammad NOKHODI, 4-4

Round 3
Seyed Ahmad MOHAMMADI df. Hamed RASHIDI, 7-7
Reza AFZALI df. Mohammad NOKHODI, 5-0

86kg- Winner: Hassan YAZDANI
The brilliant performance of U23 world champion and 2019 Asian champion Kamran GHASEMPOUR, forced Iran’s national head coach to hold a wrestle-off between him and Olympic and world champion Hassan Yazdani.

Both wrestlers from Jouybar knew each other very well. Yazdani didn’t have an easy job against Ghasempour, but Yazdani earned his Kazakhstan ticket by defeating his rival 6-3.

“Ghasempour is my close friend, and he is a very good wrestler. We know each other styles very well, so it was a tough match for me.” Hassan Yazdani said after the match.

Iranian wrestling fans in attendance filled most of the seats of the Azadi Sports Complex. Hassan Yazdani was their favorite wrestler, and the fans supported him during the competition. “I appreciate the fans, and I thank them for their support. It was my duty to compete in the team trials, and I have done so during the last few years.” Yazdani added. 

After falling to David TAYLOR (USA) in 2018 World Championships, it seems Yazdani will be the favorite to win gold as defending champion Taylor will miss the World Championships due to injury. Taylor’s absence leaves Yazdani very close to his fifth Olympic and world medal at age 25.

97kg- Winner: Reza YAZDANI
Four-time world medal winner Reza Yazdani has returned to Iran’s line up after a three-year absence. Reza Yazdani has missed two Olympic medals because of injury but has focused on taking one last in Tokyo 2020.

The first world medal of YAZDANI returns to 13 years ago in 2006, and he has aimed to capture his fifth world medal in Kazakhstan.

Reza Yazdani was also the third wrestler from Jouybar and also from Yazdani family to win an Iranian team trials gold medal. The fathers of Reza and Hassan are cousins.

97kg 
Round 1
Ali Shabani df. Hamed TALEBI ZARRINKAMAR, 3-2

Round 2
Reza YAZDANI df. Ali SHABANI, 5-3

125kg- Winner: Parviz HADI
Reigning world bronze medal winner Parviz HADI ensured his participation at Kazakhstan by downing two big heavyweight rivals. Hadi, the man who beat Olympic champion Taha AKGUL in last year World Championships, faced two-time Asian champion Yadollah MOHEBBI in the first round and won the match. 4-2.

Then, Hadi met veteran and two-time Olympic medalist Komeil Ghasemi and earned the 4-0 victory. After the match, Olympic silver and bronze medal winner Ghasemi retired and turned around the hall on shoulders of Hadi and thanked the huge support of the fans as he became emotional. 

Ghasemi is the most titled heavyweight wrestler of Iran wrestling history in the Olympic Games as he achieved a bronze medal at the 2012 London Olympics and took silver in the 2016 Rio Games.

“It was a very difficult decision, but I made it. One day you reach the end of the road, and today it was it for me. I thank the Iranian people for their support for many years.” Ghasemi said after retirement.

125kg
Round 1

Parviz HADI df. Yadollah MOHEBBI, 4-2

Round 2
Yadollah MOHEBBI df. Komeil GHASEMI, 6-2

Round 3
Parviz HADI df. Komeil GHASEMI, 4-0

Predicted Iran Freestyle line up for 2019 World Championships
57kg- Reza ATRI
61kg- Mohammad Bagher YAKHKESHI – Behnam EHSANPOUR
65kg- Amir Mohammad YAZDANI
70kg- Younes EMAMI
74kg- Reza AFZALI
79kg- Bahman TEYMOURI
86kg- Hassan YAZDANI
92kg- Alireza KARIMI
97kg- Reza YAZDANI
125kg- Parviz HADI

Weekly FIVE!

Weekly FIVE! July 16, 2019

By Eric Olanowski

Discussing the four No. 1 seeds that changed hands at the Yasar Dogu, Japan's wrestle-offs, and Wiebe's hot streak. Also looking at results from the Junior Asian Championships and next week's Oleg Karavaev. 

1. Four No. 1 Seeds Change Hands After Yasar Dogu 
Four No.1 seeds changed hands after the final Ranking Series event of the year, the Yasar Dogu, that wrapped up last weekend in Istanbul, Turkey.

Frank CHAMIZO (ITA) and Kyle SNYDER (USA) gained the top spots in freestyle at 74kg and 97kg, respectively, while the Turkish one-two punch of Buse TOSUN (TUR) and Yasemin ADAR (TUR) now control the top seed at 72kg and 76kg, respectively. 

Frank Chamizo, a two-time world champion, came into the Yasar Dogu four points behind reigning world champion Zaurbek SIDAKOV (RUS) but passed the Russian with a runner-up finish in Istanbul. His potential semifinal opponent will be Budapest world runner-up Avtandil KENTCHADZE, who is ranked fourth at 74kg. 

Kyle Snyder sat two points behind rival Abdulrashid SADUALEV (RUS), but grabbed a gold medal last weekend in Turkey and slid ahead of “The Russian Tank” for the top spot at 97kg. 

Buse Tosun was nine points behind reigning world champion Justina DI STASIO (CAN), but collected 14 Ranking Series points, and will be the No. 1 ranked wrestler in the world at 72kg. 

Yasemin Adar leaped last year’s world champion Adeline GRAY (USA) for the top spot at 76kg after finished in third place at the Yasar Dogu. Adar will take on Rio Olympic champion and fourth-seeded Erica WIEBE (CAN) in the semifinals if both wrestlers remain undefeated until that point in Nur-Sultan.  Erica WIEBE (CAN) defeated world champion Yasemin ADAR (TUR) en route to her Yasar Dogu title. (Photo: Gabor Martin)

2. Wiebe Upends World or Olympic Champion at Third Consecutive Tournament
Canada’s Olympic champion Erica Wiebe defeated 2017 world champion Yasemin Adar and extended her streak to three consecutive tournaments where she’s defeated a world or Olympic champion. Wiebe, the Rio Olympic champion, “upset” now-top-ranked Yasemin Adar, 6-2 in the Yasar Dogu quarterfinals and kept her winning streak over a world or Olympic champion alive.

In the Sassari City Tournament, Wiebe stuck Olympic champion Natalia VOROBIEVA (RUS) in the opening period, then followed that up with a victory over reigning world champion Justina Di Stasio to win the Canada Cup title three weeks ago.

After her quarterfinals win against Adar at this Yasar Dogu, Wiebe defeated No. 2-ranked Aline ROTTER FOCKEN (GER) before closing out the gold-medal bout with a 2-1 victory over Aline DA SILVA FERREIRA (BRA). 

The Canadian earned the fourth seed at the World Championships and could meet Yasemin Adar again in the semifinals if the seeds hold true in Nur-Sultan. 

Haruna OKUNO (JPN) will wrestle in a special wrestle-off at 55kg. (Photo: Sachiko Hotaka)

3. Okuno, Ota Enter Japan World Team Playoffs in Non-Olympic Weights
World champion Haruna OKUNO and Rio 2016 Olympic silver medalist Shinobu OTA, who missed out on places on Japan's team to this year's World Championships in Olympic weight classes, have entered the playoffs for spots in non-Olympic divisions, the Japan Wrestling Federation announced on its website.

Okuno, the world champion last year in Budapest at 53kg, will move up to 55kg---the same weight class she won a world gold at Paris 2017. Okuno was defeated in the Japan team qualifying at 53kg by Mayu Mukaida, the world champion at 55kg who dropped down to the Olympic weight.

Likewise, Asian champion Ota failed to displace 2017 world champion Kenichiro FUMITA at Greco-Roman 60kg, and will now try to make the team at 63kg in the non-Olympic weight playoffs, to be held July 21 at the National Training Center in Tokyo.

Click HERE to see Ken Marantz' full breakdown. 

Amir Hossein Abbas ZARE (IRI) was one of six Iranian freestyle wrestlers who reached the top of the podium at the Junior Asian Championships in Chon Buri, Thailand. (Photo: Sachiko Hotaka)

4. Junior Asian Championships Closeout in Chon Buri 
The Junior Asian Championships closed out in Chon Buri, Thailand, and the three-team titles went to Iran in freestyle and Greco-Roman, and Japan in women’s wrestling. 

In freestyle, for the second straight day, Iran won three gold medals, bringing the gold medal haul to six over the two-day freestyle competition. Iran finished with 201 points, 55 points ahead of runner-up Japan. India finished third in the team standings with 129 points.

Iran capped off a dominant performance in Greco-Roman by claiming four more gold medals, bringing their total gold-medal haul in Greco-Roman to seven over two days. 

Iran finished the Greco-Roman competition with 218 points, which was enough to win the team title by 72 points over runner-up Kazakhstan. India finished third in the team standings, one point behind Kazakhstan.

Japan finished the women’s wrestling competition with 200 points and earned medals in all ten weight categories. The medal haul included four gold medals, two silver medals, and four bronze medals. China finished second in the team standings with 157 points, while India was third with 123 points.

Belarus' returning world bronze medalist Viktar SASUNOUSKI will be looking for his third Oleg Karavaev title. (Photo: Gabor Martin)

5. Oleg Karavaev Begins Next Friday
The regular season closes out next week with the final Greco-Roman Ranking Series event, the Oleg Karavaev. The two-day tournament, which will be held in Minsk, Belarus, begins on July 26 and can be followed live on www.unitedworldwrestling.org

Though they are not official until 24 hours before the tournament begins, the entries for the Oleg Karavaev currently feature nearly 175 wrestlers from 19 different nations. Those entries are scheduled to be released later this week.