Iran in Search of Fifth Straight Title at Freestyle World Cup

By United World Wrestling Press

Iran has been a dominant force at the Freestyle World Cup in recent years, winning the team title in each of the last four years. Will the Iranians make it five in a row this weekend in Los Angeles? Iran's Freestyle World Cup roster boasts a world or Olympic medalist in six of the eight weight classes. 

World wrestling power Russia, winner of eight of the past nine World championships in freestyle, will look to put a halt to Iran's stranglehold on the Freestyle World Cup. Russia's roster is loaded with talent across the eight weight classes and includes three world champions, a world bronze medalist and five past junior world champions. 

The two-day Freestyle World Cup begins on Saturday at 3 p.m. PT at the Forum in Los Angeles.  The field is comprised of the top eight nation's from last year's World Championships. India was invited after Bulgaria (last year's eighth-place finisher) was unable to attend. The eight nations will compete in one of two groups, A or B, and the results from the groups will determine the final placement matches on Sunday afternoon.

Group A is comprised of Russia, Georgia, Turkey and Mongolia. Group B includes Iran, United States, Azerbaijan and India. 

Group A

Russia headlines the four teams in Group A. The Russians are led by world champions Soslan RAMONOV (65kg), Khetik TSABOLOV (74kg) and Abdusalam GADISOV (97kg). All three are ranked in the top four in the world in their respective weight classes. Also competing for Russia is 2013 World bronze medalist Magomed KURBANALIEV (65kg), who is currently ranked No.5 in the world. European champions Shamil KUDIAMAGOMEDOV (86kg) and Gadzhimurad RASHIDOV (57kg) are also expected to be key contributors for Russia this weekend. KUDIAMAGOMEDOV is ranked No.2 in the world, while RASHIDOV sits at No.9. 

Mongolia has established itself as one of the world's top wrestling nations, finishing fourth at the World Championships and sixth at the World Cup last year. Mongolia's World Cup roster this year includes multiple world medalists and several wrestlers ranked in the top 20 in the world. Two-time world bronze medalist GANZORIG Mandakhnaran (65kg), 2015 world silver medalist PUREVJAV Unurbat (74kg) and 2015 world bronze medalist ERDENEBAT Bekhbayar (57kg) are among Mongolia's most decorated wrestlers competing this weekend.  TUMENBILEG Tuvshintulga (61kg) was a university world champion in 2014, and ORGODOL Uitumen (86kg) was a world military champion in 2014. 

Georgia brings a very strong group of wrestlers and should challenge in Group A. World No.1s Vladimer KHINCHEGASHVILI (57kg) and Geno PETRIASHVILI (125kg) lead the Georgians. KHINCHEGASHVIL was a world champion last year and captured a title at the European Championships this year. PETRIASHVILI is a two-time world bronze medalist and European champion. Georgia is bringing four other wrestlers who are ranked in the top 10 in the world, No.9 Zurabi IAKOBISHVILI (65kg), No.6 David TLASHADZE (70kg), No.6 Sandro AMINASHVILI (86kg) and No.5 Elizbar ODIKADZE (97kg).

Turkey is coming off an eighth-place finish in last year's Freestyle World Cup. This year's squad is led by two-time world medalist Selim YASAR (86kg). YASAR was a silver medalist at the 2015 World Championships and is currently ranked No. 4 in the world. Other top performers for the Turkish team include past junior world champions Suleyman ATLI (57kg) and Selahattin KILICSALLAYAN (70kg), as well as European champion Soner DEMIRTAS (74kg). 

Group B

The Iranians are led by Hassan RAHIMI (57kg), a four-time world medalist and 2013 world champion, and 2012 Olympic bronze medalist Komeil GHASEMI (125kg). RAHIMI is ranked No.2 in the world, while Ghasemi is No. 6. Other World medalists competing for Iran include Masoud ESMAEILPOORJOUYBARI (61kg) and Sayed Ahmad MOHAMMADI (65kg), both two-time world medalists, along with Hassan YAZDANI CHARATI (74kg) and Alireza KARIMIMACHIANI (86kg).

Host United States will look to challenge Iran in Group B. The Americans were second to Iran at last year's Men's Freestyle World Cup, and have finished in the top four at the Freestyle World Cup in each of the last four years. Team USA will be led by its two returning world champions, Jordan BURROUGHS (74kg) and Kyle SNYDER (97kg). BURROUGHS was an Olympic champion in 2012, and has four additional world titles. SNYDER won a world championship last year at the age of 19, becoming the youngest American to ever accomplish the feat. Also at 97kg for the United States is 2012 Olympic champion Jake VARNER. Other world medalists competing for the United States include Tervel DLAGNEV (125kg) and James GREEN (70kg). 

Azerbaijan finished third at last year's Freestyle World Cup and brings a solid a roster to Los Angeles. While Ashraf ALIEV (74kg) is the lone world medalist at the senior level competing for Azerbaijan, the roster is filled with experienced and talented wrestlers. Makmud MAGOMEDOV and Giorgi EDISHERASHVILI are European champions. Said GAMIDOV (125kg) and Akhmednabi GVARZATILOV (61kg) are past junior world champions. 

India finished 10th at last year's World Championships and qualified three wrestlers in men's freestyle for the 2016 Olympic Games. The country had its first world champion in 2010, collected two Olympic medals in 2012 and picked up additional world medals in 2013 and 2015. One of those world medalists, Amit KUMAR (57kg), is expected to compete this weekend at the Freestyle World Cup. He was a world silver medalist to Iranian Hassan RAHIMI in 2013. Other notable Indian wrestlers expected to compete this weekend include 2013 Asian champion Amit Kumar DHANKAR (65kg) and 2013 junior world medalist Satywart KADIAN (97kg). 

Competition Schedule (All times are PT)

Saturday, June 11 
Session I

3:00 p.m. – Opening Ceremony
3:30 p.m. – Mongolia vs. Turkey; United States vs. India
4:45 p.m. – Russia vs. Georgia; Iran vs. Azerbaijan
Session II
6:00 p.m. – Turkey vs. Georgia; Azerbaijan vs. United States
7:15 p.m. – Russia vs. Mongolia; India vs. Iran

Sunday, June 12
Session III

10:30 a.m. – Georgia vs. Turkey; Azerbaijan vs. India
12:00 p.m. – Mongolia vs. Russia; United States vs. Iran
1:30 p.m. – Fifth Place Dual; Seventh Place Dual
Session IV
4:45 p.m. – Third Place Dual
6:00 p.m. – Championship Dual

Les Etats-Unis challengeront l'Iran dans le groupe B. Les américains ont terminé deuxième l'année passée en lutte libre, et ont terminé dans le top 4 des quatre dernières Coupes du Monde de lutte libre. L'équipe d'USA est menée par ses deux champions du monde Jordan BURROUGHS (74kg) et Kyle SNYDER (97kg). BURROUGHS était champion olympique en 2012 et a également remporté quatre titres mondiaux.  SNYDER  a remporté les championnats du monde l'année passée à 19 ans, devenant ainsi le plus jeune américain a avoir réalisé cet exploit. A 97 kg, nous retrouvons également le champion olympique de 2012 Jake VARNER. Il y aura également Tervel DLAGNEV (125kg) et James GREEN (70kg) dans l'équipe des Etats-Unis.

L'Azerbaïdjan avait terminé 3e l'année passée à la Coupe du Monde de lutte libre et a inscrit une solide équipe à Los Angeles. Si Ashraf ALIEV (74kg) est le seul médaillé mondial au niveau senior a être inscrit pour le pays, l'équipe d'Azerbaïdjan est remplie de lutteurs talentueux et expérimentés. Makmud MAGOMEDOV et Giorgi EDISHERASHVILI sont champions d'Europe. Said GAMIDOV (125kg) et Akhmednabi GVARZATILOV (61kg) sont d'anciens champions du monde junior.

L'Inde a terminé 10e aux Championnats du Monde de l'année passée et a qualifié trois lutteurs en lutte libre pour les JO de 2016. Le pays a eu son premier championnat du monde en 2010, a remporté deux médailles olympiques en 2012 et a remporté des médailles au niveau mondial en 2013 et 2015. L'un de ces médaillés, Amit KUMAR (57 kg) est attendu ce week end à la Coupe du monde de lutte libre. Il était médaillé d'argent derrière l'iranien Hassan RAHIMI en 2013. On attend également Amit Kumar DHANKAR (65kg) et le médaillé des championnats du monde junior de 2013 Satywart KADIAN (97kg). 

Horaire de compétition (All times are PT)

Samedi 11 juin
Session I
3:00 p.m. – Cérémonie d'ouverture
3:30 p.m. – Mongolie vs. Turquie; Etats-Unis vs. Inde
4:45 p.m. – Russie vs. Georgie; Iran vs. Azerbaïdjan
Session II
6:00 p.m. – Turquie vs. Georgia; Azerbaïdjan vs. Etats-Unis
7:15 p.m. – Russie vs. Mongolie; Inde vs. Iran

Dimanche 12 juin
Session III
10:30 a.m. – Georgia vs. Turquie; Azerbaïdjan vs. Inde
12:00 p.m. – Mongolie vs. Russie; Etats-Unis vs. Iran
1:30 p.m. – Match pour la cinquième place; Match pour la septième place
Session IV
4:45 p.m. – Match pour la troisième place
6:00 p.m. – Match pour le championnat