|Movahed: Iran’s legendary freestyle wrestler||
Abdollah Movahed Ardabili, now retired, was an Iranian solo free-style wrestling champion in the 68Kg division throughout the mid and late 1960s. He is among the country’s multi-talented sportsmen who were famous for volleyball and boating in his hometown before stepping into the wrestling world.
Born in 1940 in Babolsar, northern Iran, he attended Tehran Javan Sports Club as a young adult. Although he was unable to defeat strong opponents like Mohammad Sanatgaran at first, he persevered and his individual wrestling style demonstrated that he had the makings of a professional. His coach believed that with the suitable conditioning, he was destined to become a world champion.
When Movahed became a wrestler, competition was tough. His rivals included Gholamreza Thakhti; Mansour Mehdizadeh; Ebrahim Seyfpour; Mohammad Sanatgaran, and Emamali Habibi.
Like his counterpart Habibi, he came from Mazandaran Province where many great Iranian champions were born. After entering the national team, Movahed started to work on his fitness and willpower.
In 1962, the former Soviet Union’s freestyle wrestling champions came to Iran to take part in some friendly competitions. The victory over Russian rivals made Movahed famous all over the country as the best Iranian wrestler. In 1963, Movahed made his debut in FILA Freestyle Wrestling World Championship held in Sofia, Bulgaria, he was defeated by a Turkish wrestler and drew with a Bulgarian warrior.
Movahed took first place in the 1964 Tokyo Summer Olympics. However, he was not defeated and overpowered English, Australian, and Korean rivals in the 1964 Olympics.
In 1965, FILA Wrestling World Championships held in Manchester became the turning point of his career; Mavahed bagged gold at 70Kg.
Since then for six consecutive years, he has won every major competition that he has entered from 1965 to 1971. He was so technically gifted that his coaches knew no one who could stop him.
Experts say that the highlight of his career was the 1968 Olympics in Mexico, where he brought home gold. He won six consecutive world and Olympic championships in the same weight between 1965 and 1970 in the lightweight freestyle class.
This included an Olympic gold medal in 1968 and world championships in 1965, 1966, 1967, 1969, and 1970. His Olympic gold medal came about after he tied with Bulgaria’s Enyu Dimov-Valchev, but Movahed entered the championship by defeating Dimov-Valchev in the final match.
Movahed competed again in the 1972 games, but injured his shoulder in the early rounds and did not advance to the finals. He is listed in the FILA wrestling hall of fame.
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