Iran grabs 9 gold in wrestling as Pakistani ‘Pahalwans’ humiliated at Ashgabat 2017

ASHGABAT (Turkmenistan): Iran won nine gold medals as Pakistani wrestlers failed to get a single in the Wrestling event part of the 5th Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games here on Wednesday.

China and Uzbekistan won five and three gold medals respectively, with one golden victory each for Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, India, Japan and Bahrain.

Iran’s winning haul began with Iman Sadeghikoukandeh in the men’s Freestyle-61kg event, while Ezzatollah Akbari Zarinkolaei took the -86kg gold and Motjaba Goleij (IRI) won gold in the -97kg final.

Iran went on to prove its superiority in the Greco-Roman event on day 3 and last day, winning six of the eight gold medals on offer, with only Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan depriving the Iranian wrestlers of a clean sweep.

Turkmenistan’s Seydylla Tanzayew, who lost his semi-final match to Mohsen Haji Pour (IRI) in Greco-Roman -59kg on Tuesday, last, predicted after his bout that Iran would win all the medals in this Wrestling discipline.

But it was not to be and it was Haji Pour, who was the first to slip.

In his gold medal match against Kaly Sulaimanov (KGZ) he started slowly and could only muster one point before the time-out before losing 3-1. It showed the Iran wrestlers were not invincible and robbed their team of a perfect record.

In the Greco-Roman -66kg it was Kazakhstan’s Daniyar Kalenov who denied Iran defeating Amin Souri (IRI) to give Kazakhstan its only gold of the Wrestling competition.

But the Iran wrestlers reasserted their dominance with Farshad Belfakeh (IRI) in the -71kg event, who defeated Ali Seyhow (TKM), and Pejman Poshtam (IRI) in the -75kg category, defeating Zhang Ridong (CHN).

Mahdi Ebrahimi (IRI) came back from a one-point disadvantage against Atabek Azisbekov (KGZ) to win the Greco-Roman -80kg final and another gold medal for Iran. The 21-year-old attributed the win to his mother’s support.

“When I lose a bout, she never scolds me. She just says, ‘never mind my boy, keep trying, the only thing I wish for you is to return safe at home’,” he said.

Iran’s Saman Azizi (IRI) added to the medal haul by subduing Ravinder Khatri (IND) in the -85kg final, while two more gold medals came from Amirhossein Hosseini (IRI) in the Greco-Roman -98kg final, and Benham Mahdizadeh Arpatapeh (IRI) in the -130kg match-up, who beat India’s Naveen.

China’s medal winners were Sun Yanan (CHN) in the women’s Freestyle 48kg, Zhou Feng (CHN), who won the women’s Freestyle -69kg medal, XU Rui in -63kg, Pei Xingru (CHN) in -58kg and Paliha (CHN) in -75kg.

Bekzod Abdurankhmonov (UZB) won the men’s Freestyle -74kg, and Makhmudjon Shavkatov (UZB) claimed gold in the men’s Freestyle -57kg. India’s gold medal was won by Bajrang, in men’s Freestyle -65kg.

Bahrain’s Adam Batirov won gold in the men’s Freestyle -70kg final, while Davit Modzmanshvili (UZB), who won silver at the London 2012 Olympic Games representing Georgia, took home the gold in the men’s Freestyle

125kg event to give Uzbekistan its third gold of the competition.

Japan’s wrestling gold at Ashgabat 2017 was won by Yuka Yaco (JPN) in the women’s -53kg Freestyle after she dominated Zhuldyz Eshimova (KAZ) in their final.

Pakistan hope for medals in the wrestling shattered with none of the six wrestlers could make it to the medal fight and eliminated well in the pre-quarter-finals of the wrestling event.

Mohammad Inam in 86kg, Abdul Wahab in 61kg and Mohammad Bilal in 57kg lost on the opening while the remaining three wrestlers comprising Azhar Hussain in the 59kg, Shoukat Ali in 56kg and Mohammad Umair in the 98kg in the Grece-Roman failed to impress and surprisingly if bouts counts – Mohammad Umair lost in first round, Azhar lost in 44sec and Shoukat Ali eliminated in the second round.

The difference between the wrestlers from Pakistan and other competitors’ countries was alarming as none of the Pakistani wrestlers could secure a worthwhile thing and lost in a one-sided affair despite having more experience and more than doubled in the age.

In the first bout of the last-day proceedings 30-year-old Mohammad Umair of Pakistan lost to 20-year-old Sukhroj Azizov of Tajikistan. The young and runners-up of the Asian Championship in Moscow Sukhroj Azizov took just the first round by defeating a bronze medalist of the last year Commonwealth Championship and 5th position holder of the Islamic Solidarity Gams at Baku in 2017 Umair of Pakistan.

In the second bout 21-year old Aidos Sullangali of Kazakhstan got only 44sec in eliminating 33-year-old Pakistan’s Azhar Hussain.

Young Aidos held a bulky Azhar Hussain and got no time in defeating him surprisingly. Azhar could not sense what has done by his young rival and just down on the floor. The Asian Cadet Champion and Junior Asian Champion Aidos was in superb form and gave no time to Azhar Hussain to settle down. Azhar certainly needed a complete rest after witnessing his body language and young lot should be given in to come and represent Pakistan.

In the last bout of the day Ul Yamato of Japan, a 19-year-old eliminated 19-year-old Shoukat Ali of Pakistan taking just seconds. It was a first round when young Japanese wrestler held Shoukat Ali and picked him down on the floor by winning the bout 10-0.

Before facing Shoukat Ali of Pakistan, the Japanese wrestler and recorded victory against Philippines wrestler in the quarter-finals while Pakistan Shoukat Ali got a direct entry to the semi-finals.

There were lots of expectations from the wrestling squad looking after the age and experience but none of them could be reached to those expectations.

The closing ceremony will be held in the mid-night of Wednesday and Thursday with security in and outside of the City Olympic Complex has beefed up. Everyone will go through the walk through gates to enjoy another fun like the opening ceremony. It is also expected that President of Turkmenistan along with other invited dignitaries would be there at the colourful closing ceremony.

Host Turkmenistan led the medal table with 245 medals including 89 gold, 70 silver and 86 bronze medals, followed by China with 97 medals, including 42 gold, 32 silver and 32 bronze medals, Iran with 118 medals comprising 36 gold, 23 silver and 59 bronze medals, Kazakhstan with 96 medal including 28 gold, 26 silver and 40 bronze medals while Uzbekistan with 131 medal with 24 gold, 33 silver and 74 bronze medal. Pakistan is overall at 22 with two gold medals, three silver and 16 bronze medals.