Iran Greco-Roman wrestling team achieved 4 gold, 4 silver and 2 bronze medals in UWW ranking series tournament in Kazakhstan Turlykhnov Cup.
Poya Dadmarz (55kg), Alireza Nejati (60kg), Mohammadreza Geraei (72kg) and Ramin Taheri (87kg) were Iranian gold medalists of the tournament.
Amin MIRZAZADEH (IRI) thought he passed his toughest test in Almaty as he defeated arch-rival and world champion Aliakbar YOUSOFI (IRI) in a 2-2 comeback. But little did he expect that Osman YILDIRIM (TUR) will hand him a shock defeat in the final at 130kg.
The U23 world champion was the favorite to win the gold at the Bolat Turlykhanov Cup, the second Ranking Series event of the year, but Yildrim scored from par terre while Mirzazadeh failed to do the same. That proved to be the difference as the Turkey youngster won his second straight Ranking Series gold. His first was at home in Istanbul where he won gold over Beka KANDELAKI (AZE).
Yildirim scored wins over Anton SAVENKO (KAZ), 5-0, Sulkhan BUIDZE (GEO), 3-0 and Asian champion Alimkhan SYZDYKOV (KAZ) 3-1 to reach the final.
Mirzazadeh began the day on a strong note with a 9-0 win over SATISH (IND) before advancing to the semifinal against Yousofi, who defeated Olympic silver Iakobi KAJAIA (GEO) 8-0 in the quarterfinal.
Apart from exchanging the passivity points, Mirzazadeh and Yousofi had one stepout each in the semifinal but Mirzazadeh scored the latest point to claim the win.
Osman YILDIRIM (TUR)Osman YILDIRIM (TUR) scored two points from par terre to win against Amin MIRZAZADEH (IRI). (Photo: UWW / Bayrem Ben Mrad)
In the gold-medal bout, Mirzazadeh got the first point for Yildirim's inactivity and led 1-0. But the Iran Olympian gave up a point in the second period and Yildirim got the gut from par terre to lead 3-1 even as a surprised Mirzazadeh tried hard to score. He managed to push Yildirim after the gut wrench but could not score two more points which would have helped him win.
"It was very bad. I can't explain what happened there but I hope that I will be better at the World Championships," Mirzazadeh said.
The Bolat Turlykhanov Cup in Almaty was the first step towards selecting the team for World Championships for Iran but now it may need to find another path.
Although Mirzazadeh defeated Yousofi, missing the gold medal proves that he has the chinks in the armor which may push Iran coaches to rethink their selection.
For Yildirim, it will be a tough road to Belgrade as well as he has to go through four-time world champion Riza KAYAALP (TUR) to earn the spot on the team.
Turkey collected its third gold medal through two-time world champion Metehan BASAR (TUR) as he defeated Mahdi FALLAH (IRI) with a first-period fall.
Basar, with the retirement of Cenk ILDIM (TUR), moved up to the 97kg weight class after a decade at 87kg and has begun well with gold at the Ranking Series event.
On a giant-killing spree in Almaty, Abror ATABAEV (UZB) first spoiled the return of Meysam DALKHANI (IRI) and later pinned Joni KHETSURIANI (GEO) with ease to win the 67kg gold medal.
The 19-year-old left the arena with a number of new fans as they requested Atabaev for photos after he won his first senior-level gold medal.
In the semifinal against Dalkhani, Atabev was trailing 3-1 with five seconds left when he locked the world champion and pulled off a throw to get two points and win 3-3. Dalkhani had his arms locked in an uncomfortable position and landed on his left arm which got injured during the move.
The 2018 U17 world champion, who was introduced to wrestling by his father when he was four years old, said that he had prepared well for the bout against Dalkhani and remembered to wrestle until the end.
Iran did collect three gold medals out of the seven that were on offer on day one of the competition.
Another junior world champion from 2017 Poya DAD MARZ (IRI) secured the first gold of the night as he defeated Marlan MUKASHEV (KAZ) 4-2 in a tense final at 55kg. The U23 World silver medalist got the first point for Mukashev's passivity and then got a gut wrench from par terre.
However, when he was trying a second gut wrench, Dad Marz got stuck midway through the roll and Mukashev tried securing a fall via headlock. But Dad Marz quickly got to safety. In the second period, Mukashev was again called passive but instead of asking for a par terre, Dad Marz was happy to resume the bout from standing. He defended his 4-2 lead till the clock expired.
The second gold was secured by Ali Reza NEJATI who won the 60kg weight class.
In an all-Iran final, Nejati dominated compatriot Pouya NASERPOUR (IRI) to win the gold medal. He pulled off a four-point throw from par terre after getting a point for Naserpour's passivity. He later scored a stepout to lead 6-0 at the break.
In the second period, he was awarded another point for inactivity and finished the bout with an exposure throw for two points. The Tokyo Olympian competed for the first time since finishing with a bronze medal at the U23 World Championships in November last year.
Overall, he outscored his opponents 27-0 in the three bouts he wrestled to win the gold.
The final gold for Iran was won by Ramin TAHERISARTANG (IRI) as he defeated Aivengo RIKADZE (GEO) 2-1 in the 87kg final.
The bout began with some aggressive wrestling by the two but the Iranian was called passive and as Rikadze tried to get a roll going, he got caught on his back which gave Taherisartang the two points. The second period saw a lot of action but no scoring move as Rikadze suffered a close loss.
In second day at 72kg Mohammadreza Geraei, however, walked away with the 72kg gold after Shermakhanbet pulled out of the final to not aggravate a shoulder injury he suffered in the first round of the morning session.
Iran won the team title with 185 points while Kazakhstan came second with 165 points. Uzbekistan managed to finish third with 108 points while Turkey was fourth with 100 points.
Olympic silver medalist Akzhol MAKHMUDOV (KGZ) followed his 82kg title at Asian Championships with a gold medal at the Ranking Series in Almaty which included wins over World silver medalist Burhan AKBUDAK (TUR) and bronze medalist Pejman POSHTAM (IRI).
In the final, he made it look easy against Poshtam. He used two head-pinches for four points each to win 9-0.
The third Greco-Roman gold went to Kaharman KISSYMETOV (KAZ) as he defeated Demeu ZHADRAYEV (KAZ), 5-4 in an all-Kazakhstan final. The former rode on his four-point throw in the first round to win the gold. Zhadrayev got a gut wrench from par terre but it was not enough to overtake Kissymetov's five points.
Zhadrayev had defeated European silver medalist Yunus BASAR (TUR) 2-1 in the quarterfinals while Kissymetov defeated Asian champion Mohammad Reza MOKHTARI (IRI) 5-3 in the semifinal.
GOLD: Poya DAD MARZ (IRI) df. Marlan MUKASHEV (KAZ), 4-3
BRONZE: Aslamdzhon AZIZOV (TJK) df. Arjun HALAKURKI (IND), 13-4
BRONZE: Jasurbek ORTIKBOEV (UZB) df. Giorgi TOKHADZE (GEO), 14-5
GOLD: Ali Reza NEJATI (IRI) df. Pouya NASERPOUR (IRI), 9-0
BRONZE: Yernur FIDAKHMETOV (KAZ) df. Firuz MIRZORADZHABOV (TJK), 4-2
BRONZE: Mukhammadkodir YUSUPOV (UZB) df. Ilkhom BAKHROMOV (UZB), via fall
GOLD: Kerem KAMAL (TUR) df Bagylan ZHAKANSHA (KAZ), 11-0
BRONZE: Zholaman SHARSHENBEKOV (KGZ) df. Mirambek AINAGULOV (KAZ), via inj. def.
BRONZE: NEERAJ (IND) df. Ahmet UYAR (TUR), via fall
GOLD: Abror ATABAEV (UZB) df. Joni KHETSURIANI (GEO), via fall
BRONZE: Madiyar MALTEKBAYEV (KAZ) df. Amantur ISMAILOV (KGZ), 9-6
BRONZE: Sultan ASSETULY (KAZ) df. Meysam DALKHANI (IRI), via inj. def.
GOLD: Mohammadreza GERAEI (IRI) df. Meiirzhan SHERMAKHANBET (KAZ), via inj. def.
BRONZE: Mahmud BAKHSHILLOEV (UZB) df. Jamol JUMABAEV (UZB), 1-1
GOLD: Kaharman KISSYMETOV (KAZ) df. Demeu ZHADRAYEV (KAZ), 5-4
BRONZE: Mohammad Reza MOKHTARI (IRI) df. Yunus BASAR (TUR), 3-1
BRONZE: Renat ILIAZ UULU (KGZ) df. Khvicha ANANIDZE (GEO), 9-0
GOLD: Akzhol MAKHMUDOV (KGZ) df. Pejman POSHTAM (IRI), 9-0
BRONZE: Kalidin ASYKEEV (KGZ) df. Shamil BATYROV (KAZ), 3-1
BRONZE: Burhan AKBUDAK (TUR) df. Tornike DZAMASHVILI (GEO), 8-0
GOLD: Ramin TAHERISARTANG (IRI) df. Aivengo RIKADZE (GEO), 2-1
BRONZE: A. AZISBEKOV (KGZ) df. Azamat KUSTUBAYEV (KAZ), 6-5
BRONZE: Jalgasbay BERDIMURATOV (UZB) df. Nursultan TURSYNOV (KAZ), 3-1
GOLD: Metehan BASAR (TUR) df. Mahdi FALLAH (IRI), via fall
BRONZE: Rustam ASSAKALOV (UZB) df. Umalt DAUDOV (KAZ), 10-2
BRONZE: Olzhas SYRLYBAY (KAZ) df. Beksultan MAKHMUDOV (KGZ), 7-4
GOLD: Osman YILDIRIM (TUR) df. Amin MIRZAZADEH (IRI), 3-2
BRONZE: Aliakbar YOUSOFI (IRI) df. SATISH (IND), 9-0
BRONZE: Anton SAVENKO (KAZ) df. Alimkhan SYZDYKOV (KAZ), 6-1