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