0538 GMT January 28, 2022
Iran’s Amin Mirzazadeh said he was delighted to round off a ‘tough year’ with a Greco-Roman gold at the U23 Wrestling World Championships in Belgrade, Serbia, where four of his teammates also finished their campaigns with a medal on Tuesday.
In the last bout of the afternoon, Mirzazadeh overcame Armenian David Ovasapyan 2-1 for the ultimate prize at the 130kg weight class.
The triumph came after Mirzazadeh, who fell short of grabbing an Olympic bronze in August after a loss in the third-place bout, had been ruled out of the world championships in October with a positive COVID-19 test.
"This year was a tough one for me, and I am happy that I could get this medal at the end," Mirzazadeh said after his victory in a repeat of the 2018 Junior World Championships final which the Iranian had won as well.
Though the Iranian was unfortunate to miss out on the event in Oslo, he still remained motivated for U23 success.
"I stayed hopeful [despite missing the Oslo competitions] and just kept training. Although victory in the seniors’ event is sweet but being a champion at the U23 level is also valuable. It is a good step and will motivate me to continue," added the Iranian.
"I had suffered a twisted ankle prior to the tournament, while my other foot was also injured in the second bout against the Russian opponent [Mikhail Laptev], but thank God I still managed to win the gold,” Mirzazadeh said.
The Iranian said he will now set his sights on glory at the Paris 2024 Olympics, though he will see tough competition from compatriot Ali-Akbar Yousefi, who won a first-ever 130kg gold for the country after replacing Mirzazadeh in Oslo.
Mirzazadeh’s gold also ended the disappointment for the Iranians in Tuesday’s finals.
Pouya Dadmarz had to settle for a 55kg silver after suffering a 3-1 loss to Russian Mavlud Rizmanov, while in the 77kg final, Amin Kavianinejad fell to a 5-1 defeat against Tamás Lévai of Hungary.
Also on Tuesday, Alireza Nejati – a seniors’ world bronze medalist in 2019 – finished the competition with a consolation third place in the 63kg class.
Nejati outclassed Russian Georgii Tibilov 8-0 to share the podium with Hrachya Poghosyan of Armenia.
Georgian Leri Abuladze, who had beaten Nejati in the semifinal, went on to outmuscle Turkish Ahmet Uyar 3-1 in the final.
Meanwhile, in the 87kg contests, Iranian Nasser Alizadeh bounced back from a first round defeat against the eventual gold medalist Russian Aleksandr Komarov and outpowered Georgia’s Temuri Tchkuaselidze with a remarkable 15-7 scoreline for a joint bronze – alongside Szymon Szymonowicz of Poland.