Wrestling: Hamid Soryan wins Iran's first Greco-Roman gold


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The Independent Online

Hamid Soryan hoped he had put a smile on the faces of the Iranian people after he finally delivered the country their first Greco-Roman gold this evening.

Despite being one of the powerhouses of Olympic wrestling, Iran had never topped the podium in the 116-year history of the Greco-Roman discipline before Soryan's victory over Rovshan Bayramov in the -55kg category today.

The 26-year-old went in to the fight as favourite and gut-wrenched his Azerbaijani opponent to win the first period before winning the second period 1-0 to seal victory.

"I am hoping that this will make everyone happy back home," five-time world champion Soryan said.

"We have got a great people back home who are very kind to our sports people and I am hoping that I brought smiles to their faces for a little time today."

Soryan's gold, the first wrestling medal to be handed out at London 2012, is Iran's first of the Games.

The second wrestling champion to be crowned in the ExCeL was Russia's Roman Vlasov, who denied Arsen Julfalakyan a place in history by winning the -74k Greco-Roman competition.

Julfalakyan was looking to become the first man to follow in the footsteps of his father by winning gold in the Greco-Roman discipline, but the 25-year-old was unable to replicate the achievements of Levon, who is also his coach and won gold in Seoul in 1988.

The Armenian has not given up hope of reaching that landmark in the future despite today's loss.

"I was hoping for gold," he said.

"If I had won gold there would have been an entry in to the record books for me, but it might not be over yet.

"It might happen next time and I will try to do everything I can to make sure it does happen."

There were bronze medals this evening for Hungary's Peter Modos and Mingiyan Semenov of Russia in the -55kg category and also for Aleksandr Kazakevic of Lithuania and Azerbaijan's Emin Ahmadov in the -74kg.