Art And Culture

Iran Beats Belarus, Turkey as Freestyle World Cup Opens

Iran Beats Belarus, Turkey  as Freestyle World Cup OpensIran Beats Belarus, Turkey  as Freestyle World Cup Opens

Defending champion Iran had a good start at the 2015 United World Wrestling Freestyle World Cup in Los Angeles, California.

Put in Pool B with Belarus, Turkey and Azerbaijan, Iran, prior to the matches, was expected not to face serious trouble facing their rivals except for the world power Azerbaijan, FNA reported.

On the mat, the Iranian squad has a foursome of talented world and Olympic medalists leading their championships charge. Iran has world No.2 2012 Olympic bronze medalist and 2014 World silver medalist Komeil Ghasemi (125kg) along with two-time World champion Reza Yazdani (97kg), who ranks fourth in the world.

World No.8 Hassan Rahimi (57kg) brings another title to the favored Iranian side, having won a 2013 world gold. World No.2 and 2014 world silver medalist Sayed Ahmad Mohammadi (65kg) rounds out the Iranian squad’s sterling lineup.

While Los Angeles is thousands of miles from Tehran, the Iranians feel at home as the American city is home to one of the largest Persian communities in North America.

In their first two matches on Sunday, Iranian wrestlers decisively defeated Belarus and Turkey. In the competition held at Forum in LA, buoyed by a large contingent of fans, Iran opened up with an impressive 8-0 shutout victory over Belarus.

Hassan Rahimi opened up with a strong win over world No.7 and 2014 world bronze medalist Vladislav Andreev at 57kg. At 74kg unranked Moteza Rezaei-Ghaleh defeated Ali Shabanov, a two-time world bronze medalist. Reza Yazdani was solid, earning a 10-0 technical fall over Ivan Yankouski at 97kg. The Iranians made a clean sweep after world No.10 Parviz Hadi defeated world No.7 and 2011 world champion Aleksey Shemarov 6-0 at 125kg.

In other weight categories, Behnam Ehsanpoor at 61kg, Seyed Ahmad Mohammadi at 65kg, Hassan Yazdani at 70kg, and Alireza Karimi at 86kg defeated their opponents.

Just hours later Iran defeated Turkey 7-1. Behnam Ehsanpoor (61kg), Masoud Esmailpoor (65kg), Hassan Yazdani (70kg), Peyman Yarahmadi (74kg) Meysam Mostafa-Jokar (86kg), Mohammad-Hossein Mohammadian (97kg) and Komeil Ghasemi (125kg) beat their rivals. The only Iranian freestyler who lost his match was Yunes Sarmasti (57kg).

Iran will face powerhouse Azerbaijan Monday.

In Pool A, the host USA beat Cuba and Russia and will face Mongolia in their last group match.

Winners of each pool will meet in the final.

Having defeated Russia 6-2 in last year’s gold-medal match, Iran is expected to defend their title this year as well.