Ebrahim Elahi saved the day for Iran at the Wrestling U17 World Championships by grabbing the sole freestyle gold for the country Rome, Italy.
Elahi recovered from a 3-1 deficit in the first period to beat Kyrgyzstan’s Bilol Sharip Uulu – the reigning Asian U17 champion – 5-4 in a thrilling 60kg final.
Elahi’s gold was coupled with two silvers and bronzes apiece as Iran collected 117 points to finish fourth in the freestyle standings – a repeat of last year’s result, though the Asian powerhouse had won three golds in Budapest.
Mohammadreza Asadi was outclassed by American Luke Lilledahl 10-1 and settled for the 51kg silver on Sunday, after his compatriot Reza Soleimanian had also stood on the 80kg second podium on the preceding night.
Arshia Haddadi (48kg) and Erfan Alizadeh (92kg) were the joint-bronze medalists of their respective weight classes.
USA dominated the freestyle event with 190 points, with nine out of the 10 Americans – including four gold winners – leaving the Italian capital with a medal.
Defending champion India fell to the second place in Rome – courtesy of 126 points – with Azerbaijan in third with 122 points.
A rather disappointing freestyle campaign for Iran came days after the country had won the Greco-Roman title with 135 points.
Ali Ahmadi-Vafa won the 48kg gold, with Mohammad Gholami (51kg) and Ahoura Bouveiri (65kg) taking silvers.
Payam Ahmadi (45kg), Seyyed Azarshab (80kg), Hamidreza Keshtkar (92kg), and Mohammad Jahangiri (110kg) added four bronzes to Iran’s medal count.
Azerbaijan (130pts) and Georgia (121pts) stood behind Iran in the table.