0145 GMT November 27, 2021
The second day of the World Wrestling Championships in Oslo, Norway, saw Iranian duo Hassan Yazdani and Amir-Hossein Zare’ walk away with the gold medals of the freestyle 86kg and 125kg weight classes respectively.
It was a day to remember for the country as four other Iranians made a clean sweep of booking spots in Monday’s final showdowns.
Having suffered an Olympic final defeat against David Taylor in August, wrestling sensation Yazdani outmuscled the American at the fourth time of asking, coming out victorious 6-2 for his third world gold – fifth medal in total.
Azerbaijan’s Abubakr Abakarov and Artur Naifonov of the Russian Wrestling Federation – beaten by Yazdani in the semis – shared the third podium of the class.
Iran’s Amir-Hossein Zare’ (blue) celebrates after winning the 125kg gold at the freestyle contests of the World Wrestling Championships in Oslo, Norway, on October 3, 2021.
Later in the day, Zare’, 20, making his debut at the World Championships, also made up for his setback at the Tokyo Games by outclassing Geno Petriashvili of Georgia 9-2 in the 125kg final.
Zare’ had been beaten by the Georgian giant – a three-time world champion – in the last-four bout in Tokyo before grabbing a consolation bronze.
Zare’s triumph ended Iran’s 32-year wait for the world heavyweight gold after late wrestler Alireza Soleimani had last stood atop the winner’s podium in Martigny, Switzerland, in 1989.
Mönkhtöriin Lkhagvagerel of Mongolia and Turkey’s Taha Akgül jointly won the bronze medals.
Four into finals
Iran will have the chance to add four more golds to its medal count on Monday, after Alireza Sarlak, Amir-Mohammad Yazdani, Mohammad Nokhodi, and Kamran Qassempour secured final spots.
A thrilling contest in the 57kg semifinals saw Iranian Sarlak, also a debutant in Oslo, come from behind to beat Turkish 2019 silver medalist Süleyman Atlı 7-4.
Sarlak will face American Thomas Gilman, who will be aiming to build on his Olympic bronze, for the ultimate prize.
In the 65kg semifinals, Amir-Mohammad Yazdani pushed Kyrgyzstan’s Alibek Osmonov out of the mat in the closing seconds to salvage a 5-4 victory.
Yazdani will go head-to-head with Russian Zagir Shakhiev in the final.
Nokhodi, meanwhile, edged past Nika Kentchadze of Georgia 6-5 in the 79kg last-four clash.
The Iranian will face a mammoth task in the final showpiece, when taking on American great Jordan Burroughs, who will be looking to add to his four world golds and the London 2012 title.
Perhaps the biggest semifinal victory for Iran on Sunday came in the 92kg class, when Qassempour held on to beat J'den Cox after the two were tied at 3-3 – a first-ever triumph for an Iranian wrestler over the American world champion in the previous two editions.
Qassempour will square off against RWF’s Magomed Kurbanov in the final.