Iranian freestyle wrestler Hassan Yazdani Charati has been elected as the world’s best athlete in the 74-kilogram category in the final United World Wrestling rankings for 2016, thanks to the mix of prime hand-to-hand combat skills and complex tactics he adeptly employed at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
The 22-year-old Iranian sportsman claimed the top spot of the weight class, standing above Aniuar Geduev from Russia.
Azerbaijani freestyle wrestler Yabrail Hasanov, Soner Demirtas from Turkey, Uzbek sportsman Bekzod Abdurakhmanov and Kazakhstan’s Galimzhan Usserbaev landed in the third to the sixth places.
On August 19, 2016, Yazdani Charati, who had received a bye in his opening round contest of men’s 74kg freestyle weight category, outmuscled Haitian wrestler Asnage Castelly by 10 points to nil in the first contest at the indoor Carioca Arena 2 stadium in Rio’s western district of Barra da Tijuca.
He then prevailed over his Turkish opponent Soner Demirtas 7-0 in the next challenge to march into the semifinal round.
Yazdani Cherati downed his Kazakh rival Galymzhan Usserbayev 10-0 by technical fall in the semifinal, and qualified for the final encounter.
Yazdani scored a takedown just seconds to the end of the final bout to defeat 29-year-old Russian Aniuar Geduev and collect the gold medal for the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Yazdani was down 6-2 at one point to Geduev but rallied despite continued stops exposing the Russian athlete on his last move to win 6-6 on criteria.
The Iranian athlete’s medal was the country’s first Olympic gold in freestyle wrestling since Sydney 2000 Olympic Games.