Asian Games 2018: Iran Gold Count Rises to 12 After Historical Men, Women Kabaddi Medals

Asian Games 2018: Iran Gold Count Rises to 12 After Historical Men, Women Kabaddi Medals Asian Games 2018: Iran Gold Count Rises to 12 After Historical Men, Women Kabaddi Medals

Iran’s team at the Asian Games in Jakarta raised its gold medal count to 12, collecting most medals in wrestling to claim its continental dominance in the sport. The 18th edition of the games has become a platform for Iran to gain historical medals in wushu, taekwondo and kabaddi, in which the national athletes had not won a medal during the previous editions.

In a historical move Iranian women kabaddi players beat all time powerhouse India 27-24 in the finals on Friday to claim the title for the first time. The loss for Indians was the first in history.

To get into the final showdown the Iranian women overpowered renowned kabaddi teams from Bangladesh and Pakistan in the earlier stages.

Iran men’s kabaddi team also made history when it beat seven-time Asian Games winner India 27-18 in the semis on Thursday to enter the finals against South Korea.

Doubling the Friday joy for Iranians, men’s kabaddi team stunned South Korea 26-16 to win the Asian Games title for the first time and bring India down from its all-time dominance in the sport.

Earlier in the games, Iranian wrestlers helped increase the number of medals. Mohammad-Ali Geraei and Hossein Nouri from Greco-Roman team added to the gold medals of Hassan Yazdani, Alireza Karimi and Parviz Hadi from freestyle division.

Mohammad-Ali Geraei secured the nation's fourth gold medal in the games. Competing in the 77kg category, he beat Kyrgyz wrestler Akzhol Makhmudov in the finals.

Geraei started out strong and tried several times to slam but faced fierce opposition from Makhmudov.

In the first three minutes, the Iranian took a 7-2 lead but in the second three minutes it was the Kyrgyz wrestler's turn to make moves to slam his opponent but he could not win any points.

Mohammad-Ali’s brother, Mohammad-Reza who has made his debut on an international stage, added his name to the nation’s medal winners when he took the bronze medal in the 67kg in the Greco-Roman division.

Iran bagged another gold by Hossein Nouri as he won the Greco-Roman 87kg final against Rustam Assakalov of Uzbekistan on Wednesday.

Competing at the Jakarta Convention Center Assembly Hall, Nouri defeated his rival 6-1.

In the first three minutes, the match was fierce as the two opponents finished with one point apiece.

In the second three minutes, Assakalov looked exhausted and Nouri took the advantage to add five more points and win the match.

After the victory Nouri invited his coach to the mat and together they celebrated the triumph with the national flag.

Wushu Winners

The second place in the medals table for Iran goes to wushu with two gold and 4 silver medals in the men and women divisions.

Sanda practitioners Erfan Ahangaryan in men’s -60kg and Mohsen Mohammadseifi in men’s 70kg took gold. Mohammadseifi tripled his Asian Games gold medals as he has won three consecutive titles at the games since 2010. In men’s -65kg, Foroud Zafari won silver after losing the final to Mengfan Li of China.

Zahra Kiani won silver in women’s jianshu/ qiangshu (wushu subcategory) and was named Iran's first medal winner of the category.

Highly motivated Kiani, 18, stormed into the final against Mengjiao Guo of the powerhouse and the motherland to the sport China on Thursday. However the Chinese scored 9.74 points and the Iranian settled in the second spot with 9.71 points.

Mansourian sisters Elaheh, 52kg, and Shahrbanoo, 60kg, both won silver in women’s sanda category both losing the final showdown to Chinese opponents. 

Taekwondo practitioners were among the medal winners from Iran with two gold and one silver medal.

In the men’s -63kg, Mir-Hesam Hosseini won gold after hammering Chinese Shuai Zhao 17-11 in the final contest. Practitioner in the -68kg class, Amir-Mohammad Bakhshi fought tooth and nail in the final against Daehoon Lee of South Korea but lost the game 12-10 in an edgy game.

First Taekwondo Heavy-Weight 

Saeid Rajabi became the first man to win the heavyweight gold in taekwondo for Iran.

Rajabi’s shock victory on Tuesday over world No. 6 Dmitry Shokin of Uzbekistan was greeted as a major triumph for Iran in the sport by the “father of Iran taekwondo”, South Korean grandmaster Kang Shin-chul who has developed the sport in Iran.

“I’m very pleased to see a product of the system I put in place many years ago win the gold medal in this heavyweight category. While I’m happy for [Rajabi], I’m also proud that he was coached by one of my pupils. It shows that taekwondo has strong roots in Iran,” said Kang, the World Taekwondo Taedoo Union president and a legend in the sport.

Rajabi from the 80kg category, who celebrated his 22nd birthday last week, had to pull out all the stops to overcome Shokin, who finished fifth at the 2016 Rio Olympics and is 14 places above him in the world ranking.

A kick to the body in the fourth round earned Rajabi two points, allowing him to come from behind and overhaul Shokin, who gained points from two penalties against his opponent.

Rajabi defeated Kazakhstan’s Ruslan Zhaparov 11-7 in the semifinals, while Shokin took his final berth with a 5-4 victory over Jordan’s Hamza Kattan. Both semifinalists were awarded bronze medals.

Fastest Vertical Man 

World’s fastest vertical man, climber Reza Alipour added the Asian Games gold to his world championship glory by winning the speed climbing title on Thursday in Jakarta, passing the Chinese Qizin Zhong in the final heat.

In the rowing sport Iranian women bagged three silver and one bronze medal.

Nazanin Malaei in women's lightweight single sculls won silver. Nazanin Rahmani and Maryam Omidparsa also edged the Chinese pair in women's lightweight double sculls to settle for silver.

In women's lightweight quadruple sculls, Iran team of Mahsa Javar, Nazanin Rahmani, Maryam Omidparsa and Maryam Karami won silver while Vietnam grabbed gold. Javar finished her international career after the games.

The fourth medal of the sport went to Maryam Karami and Parisa Ahmadi in women’s double sculls division with China in first place.

Sabreur Ali Pakdaman, who won a bronze in the games earlier in the week, grabbed silver together with Mojtaba Abedini, Mohammad Rahbari and Farzad Baher. Iran faced South Korea in the final and lost the match. Captain of Iran men’s fencing team Abedini called for time at the national team after the games.

Pakdaman's individual bronze was the first fencing medal Iran gained at the Asian Games since 1974.

Iran shooting team only succeeded in winning one bronze medal by Mahlagha Jambozorg in women’s 50m rifle 3 positions category.

Women archery team faced an unfortunate incident when 2016 Rio Paralympic gold winner Zahra Nemati was put off by the organizers for being 30 seconds late to the competition.

Nemati later told the press that she was sent for lunch but soon after she left the competition site she was informed by one of the staff that the games had resumed. She arrived at the location with 30 seconds delay and as per regulations was not permitted to take part in the individual recurve games.

Iran has increased its medal count to 31 with 12 gold, 11 silver and eight bronze and is currently fourth on the medals table after China, Japan and South Korea.

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