Host Iran completed the successful defense of its Freestyle Wrestling World Cup title after overcoming the United States in the gold medal match at the Imam Khomeini Sport Venue in Kermanshah.
Rio 2016 Olympic silver medalist Komeil Nemat Ghasemi beat Nicholas Gwiazdowski 5-0 at 125 kilograms to secure a 5-3 victory and ensure the Iranians a sixth consecutive crown.
Ghasemi celebrated by holding an Iranian flag above his head and then placing it in the center of the mat, falling to his knees and putting his face on it.
Four-time world medalist Hassan Sabzali Rahimi, who also won bronze at Rio 2016, opened the contest with a 6-0 victory for Iran over Anthony Ramos at 57kg.
Team-mate Masoud Mahmoud Esmaeilpoorjouybari then produced a strong performance to down 2016 world champion Logan Stieber 6-2 at 61kg.
Olympic team member Meisam Abolfazl Nasiri came from 4-0 behind to claim a 5-4 victory over Frank Molinaro at 65kg, before Mostafa Mohabbali Hosseinkhani got the better of James Green at 70kg to make it 4-0 to the hosts.
London 2012 Olympic champion Jordan Burroughs broke Iran’s winning streak and earned the US team’s first win by defeating Peyman Morteza Yarahmadi 3-2.
Arguably the most surprising result came at 86kg, where David Taylor beat Olympic champion Hassan Yazdani Charati by fall.
Rio 2016 gold medalist Kyle Snyder kept the US’ hopes alive with a 6-0 win over Amir Mohsen Mohammadi at 97kg, but they were soon ended by Ghasemi.
The US had to settle for the silver medal at an event where their participation had appeared unlikely following retaliation to restrictions imposed on Iranian immigration into the US by President Donald Trump.
Trump’s executive order, signed on January 27, prohibited citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries – also including Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen – from being granted entry to the US for a 90-day period.
A Federal Judge has since blocked the ban, with the Trump administration then failing to have this ruling overturned at the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
After the suspension of the policy, following a ban by a Federal Judge, Iranian Foreign Minister Javed Zarif vowed that visas would be given to American wrestlers.
Iran earned their place in the final after wrapping up top spot in Group B by beating Mongolia 7-1.
The US did so by virtue of a 20-14 technical points win over Azerbaijan after a 4-4 draw in the Group A decider.
Azerbaijan had to settle for a spot in the bronze medal match, which they won 7-1 at the expense of Turkey.
Russia beat Mongolia 7-1 in the fifth-place play-off, while Georgia defeated India by the same scoreline in the seventh-place play-off.
The day’s two other earlier group games saw Russia overcome Georgia 5-3 and Turkey down India 7-1.
By Daniel Etchells
Republished with permission from insidethegames.biz.