Japan legend Hanahara passes away at 84

By United World Wrestling Press

CORSIER-SUR-VEVEY, Switzerland (February 9) -- United World Wrestling and the Japanese Wrestling Federation, with heavy hearts, announce the passing of Mr. Tsutomu HANAHARA, a revered Olympic champion who etched his name in history through his extraordinary feats in the realm of Greco-Roman wrestling.

Mr. Hanahara, at the age of 84, passed away February 5th, 2024, at approximately 23:00, succumbing to illness.

Mr. Hanahara's crowning achievement came at the 1964 Tokyo Olympic Games, where he captured the hearts of a nation by defeating Angel KERESOV (BUL), clinching the 52kg Greco-Roman gold medal.

Following his career on the mat, Mr. Hanahara continued to shape the landscape of Greco-Roman wrestling in Japan, assuming the role as Chairman of the Strengthening Committee of the Japanese Wrestling Federation. His leadership was instrumental in propelling the Japanese wrestling team to new heights, notably steering them at the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games.

As a coach, Mr. Hanahara led his alma mater, Nippon Sports Science University, to 18 consecutive East Japan Student League Championships, spanning from 1979 to 1996.

Mr. Hanahara's passion for wrestling carried over to his son and grandson. His son, Daisuke HANAHARA (JPN), finished in 11th place at the 1992 Olympic Games, where he competed in the 57kg Greco-Roman bracket. Furthermore, his grandson, Hiroto HANAHARA (JPN), clinched a 57kg freestyle bronze medal at the 2023 U15 Asian Championships.

UWW and the Japan Wrestling Federation mourn the passing Mr. Hanahara and express our deepest sympathies to the Hanahara family.


UWW Hall of Fame, former Medical Commission chair Tavakol passes away

By United World Wrestling Press

CORSIER-SUR-VEVEY, Switzerland (February 29) -- Dr. Mohammad TAVAKOL, a former member of the United World Wrestling Bureau and Hall of Famer, passed away in Tehran at the age of 89 after a period of illness.

Born in 1923 in Qazvin, Iran, Tavakol chaired the Iranian Wrestling Federation and was the Vice President of the UWW. He also held membership in the Executive Committee of the UWW and was the chairman of the Medical Commission of UWW. He was inducted into the UWW Hall of Fame in 2011.

Tavakol graduated in medicine from the University of Tehran and studied in England for his specialization. He began his wrestling career under the supervision of the late Habibollah BOLOUR, the former head coach of the national Iranian wrestling team.

Tavakol served four six-year terms as a member of the Executive Committee of the UWW and was elected as the head of the UWW Asia for a four-year term. He had a significant impact on medical coverage of wrestling competitions during his role as the head of the Medical and Anti-Doping Commission.

UWW mourns the passing of Dr. Tavakol and expresses deepest sympathies to the Tavakol family.