0635 GMT October 17, 2021
Hassan Yazdani said he will bounce back after a defeat against American David Taylor saw the Iranian settle for a men’s freestyle wrestling silver at the Tokyo Olympics.
In the clash of the titans in the final showpiece of the 86kg weight class on Thursday, Yazdani, leading by 3-2 with 17 seconds left on the clock, blew the opportunity to become the first Iranian wrestler with double Olympic golds, after Taylor pulled off the victory with a double-leg takedown.
In an Instagram post after the bout, Yazdani, a two-time world champion an Rio 2016 gold medalist, offered his gratitude toward millions of Iranian fans for their “well-wishing and heartwarming messages”, promising to “fight back with all his might in the future competitions.”
‘He made me a better wrestler’
Thursday’s showdown was a third successive setback for Yazdani against Taylor.
Taylor, nicknamed ‘The Magic Man’, first beat Yazdani during the 2017 Wrestling World Cup in Iran, before claiming a victory en route to the world gold in Budapest, Hungary, a year later.
“I don’t want to talk about wins over this guy because he’s helped me become a better wrestler,” Taylor said after his latest triumph over Yazdani.
“For wrestling fans around the world, that we could wrestle in a gold-medal match was pretty special. We are both great representatives of the sport in the way that we carry ourselves and compete,” added the 30-year-old American.
“I like to win 10-0, but getting it done in the last seconds feels pretty good, too,” Taylor said.
“I think he only tried three times to score. I always say that if you want to be the best in the world, you'll need to take people down twice. You need to get two takedowns. Tonight was a good example of that. I needed two takedowns.”
Speaking of his Olympic glory, Taylor said, “You envision that so many times in so many ways, but nothing is like the real thing.
“To be in the moment where the preparation and the hard work that you put in, the determination to want to win is really put to the test.
“You can easily say, 'Maybe next time,' or you find a way to do it. You can envision it over and over again, but when you’re there, there is nothing like that moment to be present in and seize that opportunity.”