BUDAPEST (September 16) – Iran won a pair of gold medals and Russia had to settle for three bronze medals on the opening day of the senior wrestling world championships Monday, September 16.
Defending champion Reza YAZDANI (IRI) dominated the field at 96kg to hold onto his title and Hassan RAHIMI (IRI) won the match-up of Asian champions in the 55kg final for his first senior world title.
The last time YAZDANI was seen, he was being assisted out the London 2012 Olympic Games wrestling venue on a gimpy knee. On Monday, however, he eased past European champion Pavlo OLIINYK (UKR) in the semifinals and 2010 world champion Khetag GAZYUMOV (AZE) in the final.
Russia, meanwhile, had two of its top-ranked wrestlers knocked off in the semifinals and quarterfinals, but all three entries came through in the bronze medal finals to give Russia the first day lead, 24-20 over Iran, in the team rankings.
European champion David SAFARYAN (ARM) avenged a loss in the World University Games to Magomed KURBANALIEV (RUS) with a 4-3 win in the quarterfinals at 66kg and went on to take the third gold medal of the evening.
Wrestling in men’s freestyle continues on Tuesday at 60kg, 84kg and 120kg.
55kg – In a meeting of Asia champions, 2012 champion Hassan RAHIMI (IRI) came up with a second period double-leg attack that took reigning Asia champ Amit KUMAR (IND) out of bounds for a 2-1 triumph.
In the bronze medal finals, European bronze medal winner Sezer AKGUL (TUR) scored a takedown midway through the second period and made it stand for a 2-1 win over Angel ESCOBEDO (USA).
World University Games champion Nariman ISRAPILOV (RUS) converted from single-leg takedown to back exposure and then pressed for the fall at 2:34 against Asia bronze medalist Rasul KALIYEV (KAZ).
In the round of 32, ISRAPILOV also defeated 2009 world champion YANG Kyong Il (PRK), 12-8, in a seesaw battle. YANG was eliminated from medal contention when ISRAPILOV fell in the semifinals against RAHIMI.
In the quarterfinals, ISRAPILOV also survived a 19-15 free-for-all with European champion Giorgi EDISHERASHVILI (GEO), but had nothing left in the tank for RAHIMI, who won 9-0.
66kg – European champion David SAFARYAN (ARM) scored off a single-leg attack with less than 30 seconds remaining and defeated world and Olympic bronze medalist Livan LOPEZ AZCUY (CUB), 2-2, on big point criteria for the gold medal.
In the bronze medal finals, Universiade champion Magomed KURBANALIEV (RUS) held on for a 7-5 win over Konstantine KHABALASHVILI (GEO) in a rematch of last year’s junior world championship final.
Mandakhnaran GANZORIG (MGL), the 2010 Asian Games champion, dropped KANG Jin Hyok (PRK) to his back with a short hip throw for three points in the first period and held on through the second for a 3-1 win.
In the quarterfinals, SAFARYAN avenged a loss to KURBANALIEV in the final of the Universiade with a late takedown for a 4-3 triumph.
96kg – Defending champion Reza YAZDANI (IRI) scored takedowns on both sides of the intermission to take a 4-2 win from 2010 world champion and London 2012 bronze medalist Khetag GAZYUMOV (AZE) in the championship final.
In the semifinals, Ivan Yarygin Grand Prix runner-up Anzor BOLTUKAEV (RUS) opened up with three takedowns in the second period and breezed to an 8-5 win over veteran Alexey KRUPNIAKOV (KGZ).
European champion Pavlo OLIINYK (UKR) appeared to be his way to on his way to an easy with a takedown and a pair of gut wrenches for a 6-0 lead, but was stalled on his back during his attempt for the technical fall. On his second attempt to wrap up the match, OLIINYK locked up with a cross-ankle turn to secure the technical, 10-2, at 2:27.