Asian Games

Yazdani Captures 86kg Asiad Gold with Victory Over Breakout Lebanese

By United World Wrestling Press

The way that world and Olympic champion Hassan YAZDANI (IRI) stormed to the gold medal at the Asian Games was hardly a surprise. But what might have turned some heads was the opponent on the wrong end of his fourth technical fall of the day.

Yazdani added the Asian Games title to his growing collection with a one-sided victory in the freestyle 86kg final over American-born Domenic ABOUNADER (LBN), who gave Lebanon its first-ever continental medal.

Yazdani was one of two Iranian winners of the five gold medals at stake on the opening day of four-day competition in the quadrennial event at the Jakarta Convention Center. Mongolia, Uzbekistan and India also came away with golds as 10 countries in total earned medals. 

Hassan YAZDANI CHARATI (IRI) (Photo: Sachiko Hotaka)

Yazdani, who earned his first career title at the Asian Championships in Bishkek earlier this year, completely overwhelmed the 23-year-old Abounader, taking just 1:29 to score a 10-0 technical fall. 

In contrast to the world-renowned Yazdani, Abounader's name recognition may be limited to U.S. college wrestling fans. A four-time qualifier for the NCAA tournament at Michigan University who placed fifth this year, he was competing in his first major international tournament. 

Abounader showed he could handle the added pressure as two of his victories came by one point---an 8-7 decision over Aligadzhi GAMIDGADZHIEV (KGZ) in the quarterfinals and a 10-9 thriller over Adilet DAVLUMBAYEV (KAZ). 

Adilet DAVLUMBAYEV (KAZ) and Uitumen ORGODOL (MGL),  earned the bronze medals. Both won silvers in Bishke, Orgodol at 86kg and Davlumbaev at 92kg, which is not on the Asia Games program because only the Olympic weights are in use.

Prior to Abounader's arrival in the final, the best previous finish by a Lebanese wrestler at an Asian tournament was Khodr BCHARA's sixth place in Greco-Roman 130kg in the 1990 Asian Games in Beijing.

Ali KARIMI (IRI) (Photo: Sachiko Hotaka)

Iran picked up its second gold when Ali KARIMI (IRI) scored with a 4-point move in the first period and cruised to a 6-0 victory in the 97kg final over five-time Asian medalist Magomed MUSAEV (KGZ). 

Karimi, the 2017 Asian champion in New Delhi, has returned from a six-month suspension meted out after he purposely lost a match at the Under-23 World Championships last November to avoid facing an Israeli opponent in the next round. 

In the semifinals, Karimi scored a first-period fall over Rio 2016 Olympic bronze medalist and two-time Asian champion Magomed IBRAGIMOV (UZB). 

Ibragimov came back to take the bronze medal by injury default over Takeshi YAMAGUCHI (JPN). The other bronze was won by KIM Jaegang (KOR).

In other action, Asian champion KANG Kum Song (PRK) pulled off the shock of the day when he knocked off Paris 2017 world champion Yuki TAKAHASHI (JPN) in the first round at 57kg---only to fall short of the gold medal himself. 

Bekhbayar ERDENEBAT (MGL) scored a 5-point throw in the first period of the final before dealing Kang an 8-2 defeat to make his first continental medal a gold one.  

Erdenebat, winner of the Mongolian Open in June, was a world bronze medalist at both Paris 2017 and Las Vegas 2015. In Paris, he lost a nail-biting 4-4 decision on big point in the third round to Takahashi. 

Bekhbayar ERDENEBAT (MGL) (Photo: Sachiko Hotaka)

Takahashi, the 2017 Asian champion, shook off his 9-5 loss to Kang and came back to take home a bronze with a tough 3-3 victory over LIU Minghu (CHN), scoring the decisive and lone point of the second period for the win.

The match against Kang was marred by a scoreboard malfunction that caused a 15-minute delay between the periods. Takahashi told the Japanese press that he felt that allowed Kang to regain his stamina.

Reza ATRINAGHARCHI (IRI), third at the 2017 Asian Championships, captured the other bronze, scoring eight second-period points in a 9-4 win over KIM Sunggwon (KOR). 

Bajrang BAJRANG (IND), a silver medalist at 61kg four years ago in Incheon, made it to the top step of the podium this time with an action-packed 11-8 victory over Bishkek 2018 silver medalist Daichi TAKATANI (JPN) in the 65kg final.

Bajrang avenged a second-round loss to Takatani in Bishkek, where he went in as the defending champion but had to settle for a bronze medal. 

Bajrang BAJRANG (IND) (Photo: Sachiko Hotaka)

Bajrang, who became a national hero when he won the gold at the 2017 Asian Championships in New Delhi, caught Takatani off guard early to take a 6-0 lead, but the Japanese came back with a pair of takedowns to make it 6-4 going into the second period. 

There was more exchanges of points in the second period, but the Indian was able to maintain his lead and hold on for the victory that gave India its 10th wrestling gold medal in the 34-year history of the Asian Games. It follows the victory by Yogeshwar DUTT---Bajrang's mentor---in the same weight class in 2014, which ended a 28-year gold medal drought.

“I have taken revenge of my Asian Championship loss,” Bajrang told the Indian press. “My next aim is the World Championships.”

Taking home the bronzes were Sirojiddin KHASANOV (UZB) and Sayatbek OKASSOV (KAZ).

Bekzod ABDURAKHMONOV (UZB) (Photo: Sachiko Hotaka)

At 74kg, Bekzod ABDURAKHMONOV (UZB) won a second straight Asia Games gold and made amends for failing to defend his Asian Championships title when he eked out a 3-2 victory in the final over Daniyar KAISANOV (KAZ). 

Abdurakhmonov, who won at 70kg four years ago, scored all of his points in the second period to edge Kaisanov, who finished third at Bishkek 2018. Abdurakhmonov advanced to the final with a comprehensive technical fall victory in the semifinals over Paris 2017 bronze medalist Yuhi FUJINAMI. 

Fujinami bounced back to take a bronze medal, building up a 7-0 lead then holding off 2016 world bronze medalist Mostafa HOSSEINKHANI (IRI), 10-8, in the third-place playoff. That was a near repeat of Fujinami's 7-6 nail-biter over the Iranian in the third round at the world championships. 

The other bronze went to GONG Byungmin (KOR), who rolled to a 10-0 technical fall victory over 37-year-old Abdullrahman IBRAHIM (QAT). 

Earlier, veteran Sushil KUMAR (IND), the two-time Olympic medalist looking for Asian glory at 35, lost 5-3 in the first round to Adam BATIROV (BRN), then saw his day end when Batirov fell to Fujinami in the quarterfinals. 

“I was also not expecting this result,” Kumar told the Indian press. “I had prepared, but wins and losses are all part and parcel of sport.”

The competition continues Monday with the final freestyle weight class, 130kg, and the first four in women's wrestling, 50kg, 53kg, 57kg and 62kg. 


57kg (19 entries)
Gold - Bekhbayar ERDENEBAT (MGL) df. KANG Kum Song (PRK), 8-2 
Bronze - Yuki TAKAHASHI (JPN) df. LIU Minghu (CHN), 3-3
Bronze - Reza ATRINAGHARCHI (IRI) df. KIM Sunggwon (KOR), 9-4

SF - Kang df. Liu by TF, 10-0, 4:18
SF - Erdenebat df. Atrinagharchi, 8-2

65kg (21 entries)
Gold - Bajrang BAJRANG (IND) df. Daichi TAKATANI (JPN), 11-8
Bronze - Sirojiddin KHASANOV (UZB) df. Batmagnai BATCHULUUN (MGL), 10-6
Bronze - Sayatbek OKASSOV (KAZ) df. Batyr BORJAKOV (TKM), 5-2

SF - Bajrang df. Batchuluun by TF, 10-0, 3:56
SF - Takatani df. Okassov, 4-4

74kg (21 entries)
Gold - Bekzod ABDURAKHMONOV (UZB) df. Daniyar KAISANOV (KAZ), 3-2
Bronze - GONG Byungmin (KOR) df. Abdullrahman IBRAHIM (QAT) by TF, 10-0, 3:24 
Bronze - Yuhi FUJINAMI (JPN) df. Mostafa HOSSEINKHANI (IRI), 10-8 

SF - Kaisanov df. Gong, 12-8
SF - Abdurakhmonov df. Fujinami by TF, 11-1, 3:53

86kg (19 entries)
Gold - Hassan YAZDANI (IRI) df. Domenic ABOUNADER (LBN) by TF, 10-0, 1:29 
Bronze - Adilet DAVLUMBAYEV (KAZ) df. Aligadzhi GAMIDGADZHIEV (KGZ), 3-0
Bronze - Uitumen ORGODOL (MGL) df. Pawan KUMAR (IND), 8-1

SF - Abou Nader df. Davlumbayev, 10-9
SF - Yazdani df. Orgodol by TF, 12-2, 4:57

97kg (13 entries)
Gold - Alireza KARIMI (IRI) df. Magomed MUSAEV (KGZ), 6-0
Bronze - Magomed IBRAGIMOV (UZB) df. Takeshi YAMAGUCHI (JPN) by Injury Default, 3:28 (6-0) 
Bronze - KIM Jaegang (KOR) df. Noor Ahmad AHMADI (AFG), 3-0

SF - Karimi df. Ibragimov by Fall, 1:27 (4-2)
SF - Musaev df. Kim, 1-1

Asian Games

Geraei Grabs Greco Gold Among Stacked Field, Cho Pulls Stunner

By United World Wrestling Press

The winner of the big showdown between three current Asian champions all entered in the Greco-Roman 77kg class at the Asian Games on Wednesday was...none of the above. 

Instead, it was Mohammadali GERAEI (IRI) who emerged from the pack to land on the top of the podium.

Geraei, one of two Iranian champions on the fourth and final day of the wrestling competition, scored an impressive 7-3 victory in the final over Akzhol MAKHMUDOV (KGZ), who had thrilled the home crowd when he won the 72kg title at the Asian Championships in Bishkek in February-March.

Hossain NOURI (IRI) followed with a victory at 87kg, giving Iran three of the six Greco-Roman golds at stake in the tournament using only the Olympic weight classes. Iran, however, missed chances for medals at 97kg and 130kg when both of its wrestlers lost bronze-medal matches.

Geraei, a bronze medalist at the 2017 World Championships in Paris at 71kg, had started the day by avenging a loss  to YANG Bin (CHN) in the 77kg final in Bishkek, putting the Chinese away with an 8-0 technical fall in 2:17 that he capped with a 5-point throw. 

The other Bishkek gold medalist in the field, 82kg winner Ashkat DILMUKHAMEDOV (KAZ), never made it past the quarterfinals, where was dealt a 3-3 defeat on last point by Shohei YABIKU (JPN). 

In the final, Geraei gained the first point for passivity, but on his spectacular lift-and-throw from the par terre position, he failed to expose Makhumodov's back to the mat and only gained 2 points. 

Geraei padded his lead with two more 2-point moves, but on a third attempt, Makhmudov stopped him in mid-throw for a 2-point counter, making it 7-2 after the first period.

Neither wrestler could put together an attack in the second period. Makhmudov got one last chance in the final minute when Geraei was called for passivity, making it 7-3. But Geraei firmly resisted the Kyrgyz teen's gut wrench attempts to secure the victory.

Yang came away with a bronze medal with a close 4-3 victory over Yabiku. The other bronze went to KIM Hyeonwoo (KOR), who chalked up an 8-0 technical fall over Bishkek 2018 bronze medalist Shermet PERMANOV (TKM).

In the 87kg final, Nouri continued his reign over the continent by taking full advantage of a clearly fatigued Rustam ASSAKALOV (UZB), scoring five unanswered and largely uncontested points in the second period for a 6-1 victory. 

Nouri, a Paris 2017 bronze medalist, added the Asian Games gold to the Asian titles he won in 2017 and 2018. Assakalov, who won the 2014 Asian Games title in Incheon, took the silver at Bishkek 2018 at 97kg.

Azamat KUSTUBAYEV (KAZ) captured one of the bronze medals, with some inadvertent help from opponent Harpreet SINGH (IND). Trailing 5-0 in the second period, Singh scored a takedown, then forced a passivity penalty to cut the lead to 5-3. 

But Indian failed to properly take the par terre position, giving his opponent a penalty point and depriving himself of a chance to tie the score. Kustubayev then defended his 6-3 lead to the end. 

Shyhazberdi OVELEKOV (TKM) gave Turkmenistan its lone wrestling medal, needing just 39 seconds to put away Mohammed ALQUHALI (YEM) with an 8-0 technical fall.

Prior to the tournament, the 97kg class was deemed to be the most open and unpredictable, but even that couldn't detract from the surprise of CHO Hyochul (KOR)---10 days short of his 33rd birthday and 6 1/2 years after his last major tournament---walking away with the gold.

The stocky Cho ripped off a lightening-quick headlock throw for 4 points early in the second period, giving him a 5-4 lead that he made stick to defeat XIAO Di (CHN) in the final. 

Cho prepped for Jakarta by posting ninth-places finishes in Tbilisi and Sofia this year, marking his return to international mat after a six-year absence. It was 10 years ago that he won a bronze medal at 84kg at the Asian Championships, before adding a silver in 2011. 

Yerulan ISKAKOV (KAZ), the 2014 Asian Games champion ahead of Xiao, captured a bronze medal with a somewhat bizarre victory over Ali Akbar HEIDARI (IRI). 

Iskakov needed a long timeout to bandage a bleeding eyebrow, but still built up a 7-0 lead. In the second period, Heidari himself had to receive treatment and a bandage for a cut, before the bout suddenly ended when the Iranian was assessed a 2-point penalty for a head butt. An unsuccessful challenge made it officially a 10-0 technical fall at 4:25.

Uzur DZHUZUPBEKOV (KGZ) scored a first-period takedown, and that was enought to beat Jahongir TURDIEV (UZB), 2-0, for the second bronze. 

Bishkek 2018 silver medalist Muminjon ABDULLAEV (UZB) capped the competition with an 8-0 technical fall in the 130kg final over defending Asian Games champion Nurmakhan TINALIYEV (KAZ).

Abdullaev built up a 7-0 lead in the first period with a passivity point, a 4-point throw and a 2-point roll. He ended the bout by forcing Tinaliyev out for his eighth point at 4:16. 

In the bronze-medal matches, Arata SONODA (JPN) denied the host country an improbable medal with a fall in 52 seconds over Papang RAMADHANI (INA), while KIM Minseok (KOR) eked out a 1-1 victory over two-time Asian champion and favorite Behnam MAHDIZADEH (IRI), by virtue of his passivity point coming in the second period.

In the end, eight countries came away with medals in the six Greco weight classes, with Iran and South Korea each winning two golds. Kazahstan had the most medalists with five, although none were gold. 


77kg (16 entries)

Gold - Mohammadali GERAEI (IRI) df. Akzhol MAKHMUDOV (KGZ), 7-3
Bronze - KIM Hyeonwoo (KOR) df. Shermet PERMANOV (TKM) by TF, 9-0, 1:48
Bronze - YANG Bin (CHN) df. Shohei YABIKU (JPN), 4-3

SF - Geraei df. Yabiku, 8-1
SF - Makhmudov df. Permanov by TF, 8-0, 1:32

87kg (12 entries)

Gold - Hossein NOURI (IRI) df. Rustam ASSAKALOV (UZB), 6-1
Bronze - Shyhazberdi OVELEKOV (TKM) df. Mohammed ALQUHALI (YEM) by TF, 8-0, :39
Bronze - Azamat KUSTUBAYEV (KAZ) df.  Harpreet SINGH (IND), 6-3

SF - Assakalov df. Singh by TF, 10-0, :38
SF - Nouri df. Alquhali by TF, 8-0, 1:07

97kg (9 entries)

Gold - CHO Hyochul (KOR) df. XIAO Di (CHN), 5-4
Bronze - Yerulan ISKAKOV (KAZ) df. Ali Akbar HEIDARI (IRI) by TF, 10-0, 4:25
Bronze - Uzur DZHUZUPBEKOV (KGZ) df. Jahongir TURDIEV (UZB), 2-0

SF - Xiao df. Dzhuzupbekov by Fall, 1:27 (8-1)
SF - Cho df. Heidari, 4-3

130kg (11 entries)

Gold - Muminjon ABDULLAEV (UZB) df. Nurmakhan TINALIYEV (KAZ) by TF, 8-0, 4:16 
Bronze - Arata SONODA (JPN) df. Papang RAMADHANI (INA) by Fall, :52 (2-0)
Bronze - KIM Minseok (KOR) df. Behnam MAHDIZADEH (IRI), 1-1

SF - Abdullaev df. Mahdizadeh, 2-2
SF - Tinaliyev df. Sonoda, 6-0