Iranian Kamran Qassempour will continue as a 92kg wrestler until September’s World Championships in Belgrade, Serbia, Ehsan Amini, a member of the country’s freestyle coaching staff said.
Qassempour has dominated the weight class for the past two years, collecting back-to-back world golds.
However, the 26-year-old wrestler will have to move up to the 97kg class if he fancies his chances of adding Olympic glory to his medal haul in next year’s Paris Games, as the 92kg class will not be among the six freestyle events in the French capital.
Asked when Qassempour will begin a new chapter in his career, Amini told Fars News Agency: “What we know is that he will definitely compete in the 92kg contests at the World Championship and will decide if he wants to change his division after the event in Serbia.”
Last December’s Freestyle World Cup in Coralville, the United States, proved Qassempour will have a tough job on his hands to establish himself as a 97kg contender for the Olympics, as he was well beaten 5-0 by reigning world champion Kyle Snyder, after Iranian head coach Pejman Dorostkar decided to pit him against the American in the final.
Qassempour will also face domestic competition from young prodigy Amir-Ali Azarpira to wear the Iranian singlet in Paris.
Azarpira enjoyed a glittering year in 2022 as he bagged the world junior silver in August and then cruised to a second world under-23 gold in October.
He also burst onto the seniors’ stage in style, claiming emphatic wins at the FS World Cup – including a fall victory over the world silver medalist Batyrbek Tsakulov of Slovakia – before making way for Qassempour in the final showpiece.
Azarpira will still have the chance to lock horns with Snyder as both will be present at the Zagreb Open, starting next Wednesday in the Croatian capital.
The World Championships in September will be the first of the Paris 2024 qualification events, with the top five of each Olympic classes securing a quota for their countries at the Games.
Additional berths will be decided at the continental and world qualification tournaments in 2024.