Wrestling Body Announces Disciplinary Action Against Iranian Coach, Athlete

By United World Wrestling Press

CORSIER-SUR-VEVEY, Switzerland (February 16) – The United World Wrestling Disciplinary Chamber this week passed down its decision regarding freestyle wrestler Alireza KARIMACHIANI and coach Hamidreza JAMSHIDI following their actions at the U23 World Championships November 23, 2017 in Bydgoszcz, Poland.

The chamber found that Karimachiani, on instruction of his coach Jamshidi, willfully lost his 1/8 finals match against Alikhan ZHABRILOV (RUS). Both wrestler and coach were found to have acted in direct violation of the International Wrestling Rules (Article 15) and the UWW Disciplinary Regulations (Articles 3, 7.2, 9.2).

Karimachiani is banned from competition six months from the date of infraction and eligible to compete on May 23, 2018. Coach Jamshidi is banned for two years and eligible to coach on November 23, 2019.


Asian Games Freestyle Preview: Tazhudinov, Yazdani in star-studded field

By Vinay Siwach

HANGZHOU, China (September 30) -- It’s rare that Hassan YAZDANI (IRI) is second best on the mat. It’s rarer that he isn’t the biggest star at a wrestling competition, that too in Asia.

But the Asian Games in Hangzhou is one such rare occasion when Yazdani has to take a back seat. It’s not because his form has deteriorated or he isn't the favorite in his weight class.

It's because a new star has taken the wrestling world by storm in the last two weeks.

Akhmed TAZHUDINOV (BRN)20-year-old Akhmed TAZHUDINOV (BRN) is the newly-crowned world champion at 97kg. (Photo: UWW / Kadir Caliskan)

Akhmed TAZHUDINOV (BRN) will have everyone glued to their screens as he competes two weeks after setting the World Championships ablaze, winning the 97kg gold medal in what was arguably the most thunderous run in recent times.

Beating Olympic champions Kyle SNYDER (USA) and Abdulrashid SADULAEV (AIN) in back-to-back matches, Tazhudinov became the first world champion from Bahrain and also qualified the nation for the Paris Olympics.

The 20-year-old will be under the limelight at the Lin’an Sports Culture and Exhibition Center, the venue for wrestling at the Asian Games which began September 23. Wrestling will take place from October 4 to 7 in the 18 Olympic weight classes.

Tazhudinov is one of the seven 2023 crowned world champions who will be in Hangzhou, hoping to win the gold medal. He is expected to capture gold without trouble but can have a rematch with Magomed IBRAGIMOV (UZB) and Mojtaba GOLEIJ (IRI).

Tazhudinov defeated Ibragimov in the World Championships and had a 13-8 win over Goleij in the Asian Championship, a tournament in which he won gold after beating Awusayiman HABILA (CHN) 11-0 in the final and the Chinese wrestler will be keen on avenging that loss if the two meet in Hangzhou.

38-year-old Ibragimov is a returning bronze medalist and will hope to add one more medal to his cabinet. Goleij, who lost to Sadulaev in a thriller at the World Championships, has to hope his gas tank holds on if he wants to win a medal.

For Kazakhstan, Alisher YERGALI (KAZ) is back at 97kg and can complicate the medal standings as a dark horse.

Yazdani, who has won six World and Olympic medals since his gold at the Jakarta Asian Games, will come to Hangzhou after his latest world silver medal. It will be key for Yazdani to have recovered both physically and mentally after another gruelling final match against David TAYLOR (USA).

The Rio Olympic champion has not lost to a wrestler not named Taylor at 86kg and a loss in the Asian Games looks unlikely. However, a few will look to challenge him.

World bronze medalist Azamat DAULETBEKOV (KAZ) has the potential to push the Iranian and the Kazakhstan wrestler has shown in the past that he is improving consistently. Kazakhstan will put a lot of hopes on Dauletbekov to end their gold-medal drought as the country last won a Freestyle title at the Asian Games in 1994, its only gold. The 2018 Games saw Kazakhstan win four silver and six bronze medals.

Former world silver medalist Deepak PUNIA (IND) will be back in action at 86kg after a long time. Punia has not been in the thick of things since finishing fifth at the Tokyo Olympics. Another Tokyo fifth Javrail SHAPIEV (UZB) will be competing at his first Asian Games. He finished fifth at the World Championships after suffering a last-second loss to Dauletbekov in the bronze-medal bout. He will be a big medal contender in Hangzhou.

Bat-Erdene BYAMBASUREN (MGL) finished seventh at the World Championships but will look to make his mark at the Asian Games. For Korea, Gwanuk KIM (KOR) won a bronze medal in 2014 but missed out in 2018.

Amir Hossein ZARE (IRI)World champion Amir Hossein ZARE (IRI) is the favorite to win gold at 125kg. (Photo: UWW / Kadir Caliskan)

Yazdani and Goleij are not the only members of Iran’s World Championships team on this trip. World champion Amir Hossein ZARE (IRI), Rahman AMOUZAD (IRI) and Yones EMAMI (IRI) are also on the team as Iran looks to improve the gold medal bout. 57kg will be represented by Ebrahim KHARI (IRI) who defeated Alireza SARLAK (IRI) in a domestic trial to win the spot.

He will be high on confidence after he reclaimed the world title he lost to Taha AKGUL (TUR) in Belgrade. He will need it as he faces a few big names to win his first Asian Games gold medal.

2022 world silver medalist Lkhagvagerel MUNKHTUR (MGL) will be Zare’s biggest hurdle in Hangzhou. Munkhtur won the Asian Championships in April, a competition Zare skipped, to earn his first-ever Asian gold. If Zare need to beat the big Mongolian, his underhook and active wrestling will be key as it will test Munkhtur’s conditioning.

Another test for Zare will be Yusup BATIRMURZAEV (KAZ) who was a takedown away from beating him at the Bolat Turlykhanov Cup in June 2022. He can trouble the Iranian again due to his strong gut-wrench which Zare can avoid by building an early lead.

37-year-old Aiaal LAZAREV (KGZ) returned to the mat in June after the Tokyo Olympics and reached the 1/16 finals at the World Championships. He will be at the Asian Games as a medal threat but will have to manage the younger wrestler who will beat him by fitness.

A consistent performer at the age levels, Khasanboy RAKHIMOV (UZB) has not been able to replicate that success at the senior. He will return to the mat after four months and can upset a few stars if he is at the top of his game. Sumit MALIK (IND) will hope to improve on his fifth-place finish from the 2018 edition and win his first Asian Games medal.

Bekzod ABDURAKHAMONOV (UZB)Bekzod ABDURRAKHOMOV (UZB) is the defending champion at 74kg. (Photo: UWW / Assem Shalgumbayeva)

At 74kg, both Emami and Bekzod ABDURAKHAMOV (UZB) will be disappointed to not win a medal or an Olympic qualification at the World Championships for Iran and Uzbekistan respectively. Both lost to eventual world champion Zaurbek SIDAKOV (AIN) and in repechage, Abdurkhamanov lost to Avantdil KENTCHADZE (GEO) in the repechage while Emami suffered a close loss to Hetik CABOLOV (SRB).

But at the Asian Games, Abdurakhamonov comes in as the  defending champion. He won a bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympics and unsuccessfully tried switching to 86kg before moving back to 74kg as Olympics near. His experience will be useful to beat the likes of Emami, a world bronze medalist from 2022.

The Iranian will back himself to beat Abdurakhamonov but it will be a close battle as the Uzbek is known for his strong defense as well.

Asian champion at 74kg, Darkhan YESSENGALI (KAZ) will look to spoil the party for both Emami and Abdurakhamonov. He will spearhead Kazakhstan's challenge to win the gold medal and end the drought.

Kirin KINOSHITA (JPN) was second to Yessengali at the Asian Championships and will be a big medal threat. Orozbek TOKTOMAMBETOV (KGZ), who has a few senior-level medals at 70kg, is moving up to 74kg for the Asian Games.

Returning bronze medalist Byunmin GONG (KOR) will have the responsibility of winning another medal for Korea. He lost to Kinoshita at the Asian Championships and later to Suldkhuu OLONBAYAR (MGL), who will also be in Hangzhou, in the bronze-medal bout.

Another defending champion coming to Hangzhou is Bajrang PUNIA at 65kg. The five-time world and Olympic medalist is returning to the mat after a year of absence. He has not competed since winning the bronze medal at the 2022 World Championships.

Punia will have to go through a minefield if he wants to defend his title from Jakarta. 2022 world champion Rahman AMOUZAD (IRI) will be at his first Asian Games and will start as the favorite being a two-time Asian champion. Joining Amouzad is Tulga TUMUR-OCHIR (MGL) who has improved considerably since finishing fifth at the 2019 World Championships.

Both Tumur Ochir and Amouzad are beasts with their underhooks and have managed to beat a few of the best wrestlers in the world with Amouzad beating Punia in the 2022 Asian final and then repeated as champion in 2023 defeating Tumur Ochir.

But Punia and Tumur Ochir can take confidence from the fact that Amouzad failed to win a medal at this World Championships and finished fifth. His conditioning for a six-minute bout appeared weaker than in previous years.

Abbos RAKHMONOV (UZB) is replacing Umidjon JALOLOV (UZB) from the initial squad after the latter got injured during the World Championships. Rakhmonov stunned Punia last year by beating the Indian in the final second of their Ranking Series bout.

U20 Asian champion Abdulmazhid KUDIEV (TJK), a recent transfer, is a big medal threat. He finished third at the Bishkek Ranking Series after losing to Tumur Ochir 4-0. 2019 U20 world champion Kaiki YAMAGUCHI (JPN) and 2021 world bronze medalist Alibek OSMONOV (KGZ) are also entered.

AMAN (IND)AMAN (IND) was the 57kg champion at the Asian Championships. (Photo: UWW / Assem Shalgumbayeva)

The 57kg weight class will see Asian champion AMAN hoping to repeat the golden performance in the Games. While he will be the favorite, Iran is sending Khari, world bronze medalist Zanabazar ZANDANBUD (MGL) is entered from Mongolia, Toshiro HASEGAWA (JPN) is a bronze medalist from 2021 Worlds at 61kg while China has Tokyo Olympian Minghu LIU (CHN), also a multiple time Asian medalist, Kazakhstan is going with Asian bronze medalist Rakhat KALZHAN (KAZ) while Kyrgzstan has young star Bekzat ALMAZ UULU (KGZ).

Aman is trying to fill the shoes of Tokyo Olympic silver medalist Ravi KUMAR who has been sidelined for more than a year due to injuries. He is currently under rehabilitation for an ACL injury.

India's first-ever U23 world champion Aman had a golden run at the Asian Championships, beating Rikuto ARAI (JPN), Wanhao ZOU (CHN) and Almaz SMANBEKOV (KGZ). But the Games come with different pressures. 

Former U23 world champion Hasegawa, who pinned Kumar to win that gold in 2018, will look to finally get a big medal at the senior level and the Asian Games could be his chance. A technically gifted wrestler, Hasegawa has not been able to find a firm footing at 57kg, mainly due to the weight cut.

If he wins the gold, it will not only be special for Hasegawa for Japan as well. Japan has not had a Freestyle gold medal in the last two editions of Asian Games. In fact, London Olympic champion Tatsuhiro YONEMITSU (JPN) is the only Freestyle wrestler from Japan to win gold since the 1994 edition. In the last 28 years, apart from Yonesmitsu, Daichi TAKATANI (JPN) is the only wrestler to reach the final. He lost to Punia in the 65kg final in 2018.

Liu was at the 2018 Asian Games and finished fifth. So he will be hoping to win a medal at the home Games and has all the class to do so as well. Zandanbud is another tough wrestler who showed his class by winning the bronze in 2022. He finished at this year's Asian Championships after losses to Smanbekov and Kalzhan.