As the 2017 Greco-Roman World Cup fast approaches, there is naturally a lot of curiosity regarding the rosters. Russia already announced theirs and it is packed this time around as the incredibly deep nation attempts to take back the headlines. But in order to do so, Russia will (likely) be forced to contend with an Iranian squad that is likewise stuffed with notable talent, though maybe a touch under the radar. Thanks to a fifth consecutive year featuring a homefield advantage for the global Greco power, it might still be enough to make them as much of a threat as usual. But a sixth Cup title in eight years also might be a lot to ask.
The marquee names Iran is including on its 2017 Greco-Roman World Cup roster include: 2015 World Military Games champ Mohammadali Abdolhamid Geraei (71 kg); 2014 World bronze medalist Afshin Byabangard (71 kg, world no. 7); 2011 World Champion and 2016 Olympic bronze medalist Saeid Abdvali (75 kg, world no. 4); two-time Asian Championships gold medalist Ramin Taherisartang (80 kg, world no. 11); 2013 Junior World silver medalist and 2015 World bronze medalist Yousef Ghaderian (80 kg); and 2016 Asian Championships winner Amir Ghasemi (130 kg, world no. 19). This group of athletes, impressive as they are, don’t offer up the same amount of hardware as the Olympic medal-rich Russian team. But what Iran has going for it is a good mix of veteran ability and young, skilled prospects.
An undercover strength for the Iranians might rest at 59 kilograms. Hard-nosed vet Mohsen Hajipour serves constant doses of ferocity and owns one of the most brutal gutwrench-to-lift sequences at this weight. He has also been around enough and holds numerous worthwhile credentials, including a University World Title in 2010. He competed well at the Clubs Cup in November and most recently took home first at the Paris International Tournament two months ago. Mohammad Nourbakhsh (59 kg) just won the prestigious Takhti Cup in January and although previously considered more of a “depth guy”, he has been in enough big events to know his way around. Nourbakhsh was also part of the 2014 Iranian World Cup team that won gold.
The 2017 Greco-Roman World Cup takes place March 16th-17th in Abadan, Iran.
Iran 2017 Greco-Roman World Cup Roster
Mohsen Hajipour (2010 University World Champion, 2014 Yadegar Imam Cup gold medalist, 2017 Paris International Grand Prix gold medalist)
Mohammad Nourbakhsh (2017 Takhti Cup gold medalist, 2011 Junior World bronze medalist)
Ali Arsalan (Two-time Junior Asian Championships gold medalist)
Amin Seid Souri (Two-time Yadegar Imam Cup bronze medalist)
Afshin Byabangard (2014 World bronze medalist, 2016 Asian Championships gold medalist, 2015 Dan Kolov – Nikola Petrov gold medalist)
Mohammadali Abdolhamid Geraei (2015 World Military Games Champion)
Saeid Abdvali (Two-time Junior World Champion, 2011 World Champion, 2016 Olympic bronze medalist)
Rasoul Garmsiri (2017 Takhti Cup gold medalist)
Ramin Taherisartang (2011 Cadet World Champion, Two-time Asian Championships gold medalist)
Yousef Ghaderian (2015 World bronze medalist, 2013 Junior world silver medalist)
Mahdi Fallahhmidabadi (2012 Cadet World silver medalist, 2016 Ukraine International gold medalist)
Hossein Nouri (2013 Yadegar Imam Cup bronze medalist)
Seyedmostafa Salehizadeh (2015 World Military Games bronze medalist, 2017 Takhti Cup gold medalist)
Amir Ghasemi (2010 University World silver medalist, 2016 Takhti Cup gold medalist, 2016 Asian Championships gold medalist, 2016 University World bronze medalist, 2017 Paris International gold medalist)