TEHRAN, Jan. 6 (Mehr News Agency) -- Gholamreza Takhti was born on Aug. 27, 1930 in Tehran and raised in a poor family. He trained in a makeshift sports hall until he left Tehran to work as an oil worker. After being drafted into the army he was introduced to freestyle wrestling.
He won his first Iranian championship in 1950 and became the first Iranian wrestler to win an international medal when he took a silver medal in the world event in Helsinki in 1951 followed by a silver in the Helsinki Olympics.
Takhti started as a middleweight wrestler.
In the 1952 Helsinki Olympics he was only 22 but managed to grab the silver medal in the 79kg weight category.
Four years later in Melbourne he got better result and alongside his fellow countryman Emam-Ali Habibi became the first Olympic gold winner for the country, standing top in the 87kg bouts.
He snatched two world golds and one silver in Tehran, Yokohama, Japan, and Toledo, Ohio, in 1959, 1961, and 1962 respectively.
As he was getting heavier, he decided to move up to the next weight, 97kg, for the Tokyo Olympics in 1964. But this proved tough for the great champion.
He competed unsuccessfully at the Tokyo Olympics and the 1966 world championships.
Although he had retired from competition, the government of the time attempted to discredit him in the eyes of the people with whom he was extremely popular, particularly from an antigovernment stance.
Though he lost in the last two competitions, his popularity was not diminished.
Takhti died a suspicious death on January 7, 1968. The Pahlavi government of Iran claimed that he had committed suicide in his hotel room, but people said he was killed by the government because of his political activities against the regime.
The legendary Takhti is the most celebrated wrestler in Iran's wrestling history.
Related News: ISNA report (in Persian)
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