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Hossein has sights on World medal
7:14am Thursday 19th September 2013 in Sport
HOSSEIN Asgharyzadegan had sleepless nights waiting to find out whether his beloved wrestling would remain in the Olympic Games.
Relieved that the sport fended off competition from baseball and Laura Massaro’s squash to retain its place in the Olympics, the Blackburn man has now focused that joy into his preparations for the forthcoming Veteran World Championships in Sarajevo.
Wrestling had originally been removed from the Olympics in February, but won a reprieve at a vote in Buenos Aires last week.
“It felt like if they take a kid away from you, it meant so much, because wrestling has been in the Olympics for so long,” said Asgharyzadegan, who moved to East Lancashire from Iran in 1978.
“I couldn’t sleep on the night before the vote, wondering what was happening.
“My younger son Camron made a video about saving Olympic wrestling on YouTube. My other son Byhrom was also in it.
“There is no money in wrestling but we do it because we love it.
“It has made me want to train harder, knowing wrestling is back in the Olympics.”
Asgharyzadegan is preparing to make the journey to Bosnia and Herzegovina for the World Championships, which start on October 1.
He won a bronze medal in the 69kg freestyle wrestling for 51 to 55-year-olds at last year’s event in Hungary, but was taken to hospital after exacerbating a knee injury.
Asgharyzadegan steps up into the 56-60-year-old category this time and is determined to battle through the pain to compete – this time in Greco-Roman wrestling.
“I am only doing Greco-Roman wrestling this time because in that they don’t apply pressure to the legs,” said the 56-year-old.
“I spoke to my wife and my friends, and we decided I wouldn’t do the freestyle.
“The doctor said if I stopped wrestling I could have an operation, but if I carried on I might need another one after this anyway.
“It’s not every day you get a chance to compete at the top level in the World Championships.
“As long as I’m alive I’ll carry on.”
Asgharyzadegan may have grown up in Tehran, but he will be proud to represent Great Britain once more.
“Like last year I am the only English wrestler competing,” he said. “There are two from Scotland and we are all representing Great Britain, but I am the only one from England.
“I have had to save money for a year because the ticket to Sarajevo is expensive.
“I set off early in the morning and I have to go to Cologne, then Vienna, then Zagreb, then Sarajevo and arrive at 10 in the evening.
“I got a bronze last year and I hope to get a medal again.
“There are two or three really tough wrestlers in my category, but I will see what I can do.”
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