Iran’s Nasser Alizadeh said it was a “special feeling” for him after walking away with a second successive Greco-Roman gold at the Asian Wrestling Championships.
The Iranian can certainly take pride adding another Asian gold to his medal haul as he had to beat another champion from 2021 in doing so.
On Tuesday, Alizadeh outmuscled Uzbekistan’s Jalgasbay Berdimuratov – an 82kg champion last year – 3-1 for the ultimate prize in the 87kg weight class in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.
“It’s just a great honor to be a part of my national team,” Alizadeh – also a world U23 bronze medalist in 2021 – said afterwards.
Alizadeh's ability to take advantage of the par terre position, while being able to defend when he was put on bottom, made the difference in an intense final showdown on the first day of the six-day event.
"The final is always tough and I had the point for passivity in the first period. I managed to score from par terre and lead 3-0," Alizadeh said.
"In the second period, he got the passivity but I was determined to defend. In my mind, I was thinking that I have to only defend this attack to win."
"It’s a special feeling to win two Asian gold medals," added the Iranian.
"Last year and now I am again champion. Incredible."
Alizadeh’s triumph was coupled with a couple of bronze medals for the country on Tuesday.
Having suffered a 14-3 defeat against former world silver and bronze medalist Meirambek Ainagulov of Kazakhstan, Iman Mohammadi settled for a joint third-spot finish of the 63kg division after Syrian Ahmad al-Nakdali withdrew the bronze medal match.
Kyrgyzstan’s Tynar Sharshenbekov beat Ainagulov 5-0 for the gold.
Mohammadi’s compatriot, Aref Habibollahi was also awarded a victory by default for the 77kg bronze after South Korean Kim Hyeon-woo – a combined five-time Olympic and world medalist – did not take part in the third-place bout.
Habibollahi shared the podium with Kodai Sakuraba of Japan, while Akzhol Makhmudov – victorious over Habibollahi in the second-round – won the second gold of the afternoon for Kyrgyzstan by a 3-1 triumph over Kazakhstan’s Maxat Yerezhepov.