Sports
0

Ambitious Iran Looks to Success in Jakarta

Combat sports provided the bulk of the country’s 57-medal haul in 2014, with the wrestling powerhouse taking six gold and 12 medals in total in the men’s events
The emblem of the games installed in the streets of JakartaThe emblem of the games installed in the streets of Jakarta

Iran’s team in the Jakarta Asian Games has eyes set firmly on a move back into the continent’s leading quartet.

The nation’s upward trajectory since the 2002 Busan Games stalled at Incheon four years ago when they finished fifth on the medal table but officials are confident of another push forward in Indonesia, Reuters reported.

“Iran has improved a lot in the previous editions,” chief of mission Nasrollah Sajjadi told local media. There is still room for improvement but the countries, namely Kazakhstan, India, Thailand, Uzbekistan and Taiwan have also improved in recent years.”

Combat sports provided the bulk of the country’s 57-medal haul in 2014, with the wrestling powerhouse taking six gold and 12 medals in total in the men’s events.

Hassan Yazdani made a step up in weight class following his gold medal win at the Rio Olympics but still claimed the world championship in Paris last year, marking him favorite to win the 86kg division in freestyle wrestling.

In Incheon 2014, Iran took seven medals, including four gold, in taekwondo, while karate took another three gold and five medals in all. The delegation hopes for similar returns in Jakarta.

Climbing, introduced to the Jakarta Games ahead of its 2020 Olympic debut in Tokyo, could also yield gold for Iran in the speed climbing event, where Reza Alipour holds the world record.

The Iranians are also Asian Games champions in the men’s volleyball and have a strong legacy in men’s soccer, having won gold on four occasions. Zlatko Kranjcar’s men will look to end a drought that extends back to 2002.

Sajjadi said Iran would be content with a return to the top four, tipping Japan to finish second behind dominant China.

The host could yet prove a threat to Iran’s ambitions. “We should consider the fact that host Indonesia is eyeing its best ever place in this edition (among the top four),” Sajjadi added.

Add new comment

Read our comment policy before posting your viewpoints

Financialtribune.com