0518 GMT December 05, 2021
Iran’s freestyle wrestling head coach Pejman Dorostkar believes there is still more to come in the rivalry between Iranian Hassan Yazdani and American David Taylor.
The two 86kg superstars last met at the Wrestling World Championships in Oslo, Norway, in early October, when the Iranian beat his opponent 6-2 in the final showpiece.
It was a first win in four meetings for Yazdani as Taylor had come out victorious in the corresponding fixture at the Tokyo Olympics in August.
When asked by Tasnim News Agency if Yazdani’s emphatic victory means that the rivalry is settled between the two, Dorostkar said, “It’s not done and dusted yet. It will be ongoing for as long as both athletes keep wrestling. But one thing is for sure, Yazdani has overcome the mental barrier of facing Taylor. He has learned how to wrestle with Taylor.”
Having won a world silver in 2015, Yazdani stole the headlines at Rio Olympics a year later, when he cruised to the coveted gold.
“Hassan is a committed athlete. He now has to focus on a second Olympic gold,” added the Iranian coach.
Dorostkar took charge of the Iranian team after the Olympics – where the country only managed to win a silver and a bronze by Amir-Hossein Zare’ – and made an instant impact by leading his men to a third spot finish at the world event.
The three-horse race for the title, which also featured the Russian Wrestling Federation and USA, went right down to the wire in Oslo, with the Russians eventually winning the title with 173 points, with USA and Iran in the following spots on 168 and 162 points, respectively.
All three teams won three golds apiece, with six silvers equally shared between Iran and USA.
“We’re still far behind the Russians and Americans despite the close results in Oslo. Much more work needs to be done for us to reach their level,” Dorostkar acknowledged.
However, the Iranian head coach said he was “thrilled to see my team establish a 94-point lead over the fourth team, Georgia.”
Dorostkar believes one way to match the two dominant forces is to have the Iranian wrestlers square off against the Russians and Americans more frequently.
“We should not be afraid of facing them. We will have to consider every competition as a preparation for Paris Olympics [in three years’ time] from now on,” said Dorostkar, whose team will take on USA in a friendly contest in Arlington, Texas, in February next year.