0729 GMT September 18, 2021
Iranian freestyle wrestlers will head into the Ziolkowski, Pytlasinski, Poland Open, starting in Warsaw today, knowing success at the event will seal their place in the country’s squad at the Tokyo Olympics.
Eight Iranians will compete in four weight classes, while head coach Gholamreza Mohammadi and his staff will closely watch their men’s performances in 74kg, 97kg, and 125kg contests.
Iran Wrestling Federation president Alireza Dabir has said both freestyle and Greco-Roman Olympic teams will have to be announced before the end of the month and, with only 86kg sensation Hassan Yazdani guaranteed a spot in July’s Games, the technical staff is yet to decide over five other slots.
Mohammad-Hossein Mohammadian, Ali Sha’bani, and Alireza Karimi will get their 97kg campaigns underway in the Polish capital today.
Mohammadi will have a tough decision to make over the 97kg spot as all three believe they deserve to be in the Olympic squad.
Mohammadian, a 2014 world bronze medalist, secured the quota for Iran at the Asian Wrestling Olympic Qualification Tournament in April, while Sha’bani marched to the gold at the Asian Championships in Almaty a week later.
Karimi, meanwhile, will be appearing in an international tournament for the first time in more than a year after recovering from a knee injury, but will hope to build on the 2019 world silver at the Olympics.
In the 74kg event, Younes Emami, who won a quota for the country in April’s qualifications, will see competition from Mostafa Hossein-Khani, an Asia silver medalist in Almaty.
Meanwhile, Amin Taheri, a bronze winner at the Asian meet, and 20-year-old Amirhossein Zare, a world under-23 champion in 2019, will fancy their chances of a place in Tokyo when participating at the 125kg contests.
Additionally, Reza Atri will be the sole Iranian in the 61kg bouts.