Freestyle head coach Pejman Dorostkar announced Iran’s 10-man squad for the upcoming Asian Wrestling Championships.
Reza Mo’meni (57kg), Dariush Hazratqolizadeh (61kg), Rahman Amouzad (65kg), Mohammad-Mehdi Yeganeh Ja’fari (70kg), Younes Emami (74kg), Ali Savadkouhi (79kg), Mohsen Mostafavi (86kg), Amir-Hossein Firouzpour (92kg), Mohammad-Hossein Mohammadian (96kg), and Yadollah Mohebbi (125kg) will represent the country at the competition in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, starting April 19.
All members of the team topped their respective weight classes at the Iranian Wrestling Championships in January.
Having three world cadet and junior golds under his belt, Amouzad will be looking for a first international gold in the seniors level, while Emami – a world bronze medalist in 2019 – will be hoping to improve on his previous campaign at the Asian event, when he finished third in 2019.
Firouzpour will also hope to take the momentum from last year’s World U23 Championships, where he won bronze, into the competition.
Savadkouhi will be eager to do better than his last year’s silver-winning campaign in Almaty, Kazakhstan, while Mohebbi will be eyeing a third 125kg gold in the Mongolian capital, having won the ultimate prize in 2017 and 2019.
Mohammadian – a world bronze winner in 2014 – will set his sights on grabbing a second Asian gold after his 2015 triumph.
Last week, Greco-Roman head coach Mohammad Bana had confirmed the Iranian squad for the Asian championships.
Ali Nourbakhsh (55kg), Mehdi Mohsen-Nejad (60kg), Iman Mohammadi (63kg), Shahin Bodaghi (67kg), Mohammadreza Mokhtari (72kg), Aref Habibollahi (77kg), Rasoul Garmsiri (82kg), Nasser Alizadeh (87kg), Mehdi Bali (97kg), and Amir Qassemi Monjazi (130kg) will be aiming at gold in Ulaanbaatar.
The competitions will be the first of three major events coming Iran’s way in less than five months.
The wrestling contests of the Hangzhou 2022 Asian Games will kick off on September 14 in China, four days before the Wrestling World Championships get underway in the Serbian capital of Belgrade, meaning two separate teams will represent Iran at the events.
Both Dorostkar and Bana will be facing a dilemma for team selection ahead of the events.
“Participation at the two competitions in the space of a few days will be a massive challenge for the Iranian wrestling and we’ll have to consider all aspects when selecting the teams,” Dorostkar told Varzesh3 in March.
“The Asian Games will be of high importance to the country’s sports apparatus and the expectations will be high of wrestling, as the most decorated sport in Iran,” said Dorostkar.
However, the Iranian believes that the wrestlers would prefer to take part at the World Championships, “as they believe their careers will be assessed by the number of Olympic and world medals.”