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|Burroughs-Goudarzi rematch expected on Day 1 of World Cup freestyle event|
By Craig Sesker USA Wrestling
Jordan Burroughs of the U.S. and Sadegh Goudarzi of Iran stand together on the medal podium at the 2012 Olympics in London.
TEHRAN, Iran – A potential Olympic finals rematch between American Jordan Burroughs and Iran’s Sadegh Goudarzi is among the top matchups to look forward to with the World Cup freestyle competition set to begin.
The pools have been drawn for the first of two days of freestyle competition, set to open on Thursday at the Azadi Sports Complex.
The U.S. and Iran are in Pool B along with Japan, Georgia and Bulgaria. The U.S. opens with Georgia, and will wrestle all four teams in Pool B on Thursday.
Pool A includes Russia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Turkey and Kazakhstan. The winners of each pool will meet for the championship on Friday.
“The draw is the draw,” U.S. National Coach Zeke Jones said. “Now that we know who we’re going to wrestle, we’re going to do our homework tonight, get a good meal or two, and get ready to compete. It’ll be fun to get back out on the mat and wrestle. The team focus is laser sharp and ready to go. It should be fun.”
Burroughs beat Goudarzi in the finals of the 2012 Olympics and 2011 World Championships at 74 kg/163 lbs. Burroughs also beat Goudarzi in the 2012 World Cup.
Burroughs has not competed since beating Goudarzi this past August in the Olympic finals in London.
In addition to Burroughs, Olympic gold medalist Jake Varner is expected to compete for the U.S. at 96 kg/211.5 lbs. Also on the American roster are 2012 Olympic bronze medalist Coleman Scott at 60 kg/132 lbs. and 2009 World bronze medalist Tervel Dlagnev at 120 kg/264.5 lbs.
There are a number of other top international stars to keep an eye on at the World Cup.
Iran heavyweight Komeil Ghasemi was an Olympic bronze medalist in 2012. Iran also features Mehdi Teghavi, a two-time World champion at 66 kg/145.5 lbs. Iran’s Hassan Rahimi was third at the 2011 Worlds at 55 kg/121 lbs. Both were Olympians in 2012.
Japan’s Tatsuhiro Yonemitsu won a 2012 Olympic gold medal at 66 kg/145.5 lbs.
Russia is led by 2010 World silver medalist and 2012 Olympian Alan Gogaev at 66 kg/145.5 lbs. Teammate Nariman Israpilov is a past Junior World champion at 55 kg/121 lbs.
Azerbaijan's Jabrayil Hasanov, a two-time World bronze medalist, placed fifth at the 2012 Olympics at 66 kg/145.5 lbs. He is listed on his team's World Cup roster at 74 kg/163 lbs. Teammate Ali Isayev, a 2008 Olympian, was fifth in the 2010 Worlds at 120 kg/264.5 lbs.
Turkey’s Sezar Akgul is a past World silver medalist and 2008 Olympian at 55 kg/121 lbs. Teammate Ahmet Peker was a 2012 Olympian in the same weight class.
Belarus is led by veteran Murad Gaidarov at 84 kg/185 lbs. He was a 2008 Olympic bronze medalist and was second in the 2003 Worlds. Alexandr Kontoyev was third in the World in 2001. Kontoyev is at 66 kg/145 lbs. Ali Shavanav was a 2012 Olympian at 74 kg/163 lbs.
The 10 freestyle countries in the World Cup were the top finishers at the 2012 London Olympic Games. Wrestling is a national sport in Iran, and huge sellout crowds are expected to fill the Azadi Sports Complex all week long.
“This is the heartbeat of wrestling,” said USA Wrestling Executive Director Rich Bender, who is in Iran for the event. “There is a capacity crowd here, and worldwide interest. The 10 best freestyle nations in the World are here. This is Olympic caliber wrestling at its best.”