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Iran marks anniversary of legendary Iranian wrestler Takhti's death
Iran commemorated 49th anniversary of legendary wrestler Gholamreza Takhti’s death on Friday.
A number of top Iranian sports officials, veteran wrestlers and several hundred people attended the ceremony held at Ibn-e Babawayh cemetery, where Takhti was laid to rest after being found dead aged 37 in a hotel room in January 1968.

Takhti claimed gold in the under 87 kilogram light heavyweight division at the Melbourne 1956 Olympic Games, where he defeated the Soviet Union's Boris Kulayev in the final.

He had stepped up a weight division for the Games having secured Iran’s first-ever Olympic silver medal four years earlier at middleweight in Helsinki.

The Takhti Cup tournament is held annually in Tehran in memory of Gholamreza Takhti.

Takhti backed up his gold medal-winning success in Melbourne with another silver medal at the Rome 1960 Olympics, establishing himself as one of Iran's greatest athletes.

He also won World Championship gold medals in 1959 and 1961, and seized a gold at the 1958 Asian Games in Tokyo.

The Takhti Cup tournament is held annually in Tehran in memory of the wrestler.

He is the most famous wrestler in Iranian history. The legend was known for his chivalry and sportsmanship and continues to symbolize the essence of sports to the Iranian people.

In 1961, a terrible earthquake occurred in Boein Zahra in western Iran, killing 45,000. Takhti was deeply touched by the suffering. Already one of Iran’s biggest stars, he began to walk one of the main avenues of Tehran, asking for assistance for the victims. He inspired other champions to follow in his footsteps, and thousands gave donations to alleviate the suffering.

Another example of his character comes from a match in Moscow. After defeating the then-world champion Anatoli Albul, Takhti saw the sorrow on the face of Albul’s mother. Takhti went to her and said, “I’m sorry about the result, but your son is a great wrestler.” She smiled and kissed him.

There is another memory that sheds more light on his character. Once he had a match with Russian wrestler Alexander Medved, who had an injured right knee. When Takhti found out that he was injured, he never attacked that leg. Instead, he tried to attack the other leg. Takhti finally lost the match.

Alexander Medved has come to Iran many times over the years to pay respect to the champion at his grave.

 
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