Interview by Farrokh Hesabi

Olympic medal winner Rezaei expects better performance in Tokyo

August 6, 2021 - 18:15

TEHRAN - Former Iran national team wrestler, Alireza Rezaei, says that he expected more from the freestyle wrestling team in the Tokyo Olympics.

Iran ended the competition with two medals altogether.  Amirhossein Zare claimed a bronze medal in the men's freestyle 125 kg of the 2020 Olympic Games. Hassan Yazdani also claimed a silver on Thursday after losing to the U.S wrestler David Taylor in the final bout of 86kg.

“Personally, I expected three or four medals for our freestyle national team in the Olympics. Of course, we can’t deny that the Olympic Games are at the highest level, and it isn’t easy to predict. Our wrestlers tried their best, and Iranian people watched their efforts on the mat,” said Rezaei, who won a silver medal at the 2004 Olympics in the men’s Freestyle 120 kg.

“We cannot criticize our wrestlers and say that they have not put everything on the line in their games. They did what they could do. However, they lacked the necessary freshness and vitality for such crucial moments and seemed to have problems in terms of physical strength,” He added in his interview with Tehran Times.

Six Iranian freestyle wrestlers competed in Tokyo, but they failed to win a gold medal. The Iranian people had high hopes of winning a gold medal in freestyle wrestling.

Freestyle wrestling is considered a national sport in Iran and is the country’s most decorated sport in the Olympics.

When asked about the tactical issues of the Iranian team, Rezaei said: “I don’t want to comment about it. We had some problems, especially in physical condition as I said. The technical staff of the national team should answer many questions regarding the performance of the national team.

“Mohammadhossein Mohammadian and Morteza Ghiasi made some mistakes against their rivals and lost their games while both of them deserved to win.

“Reza Atri in the 57kg was not recovered well after the defeat at the semifinals and lost 9-1 in the bronze medal battle against American Thomas Gilman, while the difference between them was not that much at all,” Rezaei explained.

Speaking about Hasan Yazdni’s defeat at the final of 86 kg, he said: “We should not forget that he had lost to David Taylor in the previous two matches by a huge margin, but this time he was only 17 seconds away from winning. I think he did a great job in the match against the American wrestler.

“I congratulate Amirhossein Zare for winning the bronze medal. His first appearance at the Olympics led to his first medal. Amirhossein has a bright future ahead of him,” Rezaei concluded.

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