0748 GMT October 17, 2021
Mohammad Bana, the head coach of Iran’s Greco-Roman team, said it was a joy to watch the country’s young and promising talents break through at the recently-finished Wrestling World Championships in Oslo, Norway.
A memorable campaign saw Bana’s team grab six medals – including a best-ever tally of four golds – to finish second to the Russian Wrestling Federation on Sunday.
Mohammadreza Geraei snatched a second major 67kg gold in two months – having won the ultimate prize at the Tokyo Olympics – while Meisam Dalkhani (63kg), Mohammad-Hadi Saravi (97kg), and Ali-Akbar Yousefi (130kg) also walked away with the coveted golds of their respective weight classes.
Geraei’s older brother, Mohammad-Ali, and Pejman Poshtam, meanwhile, settled for joint-bronze medals of the 77kg and 82kg contests respectively.
A constant image in Oslo’s Nye Jordal Amfi was Bana coming up on the mat to join his men’s celebrations after the victories in the final bouts.
“You had never seen me celebrating with the Iranian flag [in the previous competitions], but that’s what I did this year as I was so thrilled to see new Iranian stars introduced at the event,” Mehr News Agency quoted the Bana as saying upon his arrival in Tehran on Monday.
Bana, who led the country to a glittering campaign at the 2012 London Olympics, added he hopes the Iranian wrestlers would keep up the momentum to succeed at Paris 2024.
One of the young Iranian talents in Oslo was Yousefi made history by claiming a first world 130kg GR gold for the country, adding the triumph to his world U23 and junior titles in 2019.
Yousefi had been named in the Iranian squad only weeks before the competitions got under way, after Amin Mirzazadeh, who finished fifth at the Tokyo Games, had tested positive for COVID-19.
“Both of them are surely among the best heavyweight wrestlers in the world. Yousefi was lucky to get the opportunity [to win the gold] in Oslo,” Bana said.