TEHRAN, May 21 (MNA) – Iran’s veteran heavy-weight wrestler has died of heart attack after suffering a heart condition for a long time.

Alireza Soleimani, who led Iran’s delegation to 1992 Summer Olympic Games in Barcelona, Spain, reportedly has been suffering a heart condition. Mr. Soleimani died at 6 AM today. He was only 59.

Ebrahim Javadi, also a wrestling veteran athlete, in an interview to Mehr News confirmed the death of Soleimani.

Soleimani was the only Iranian wrestler to ever win a heavy-weight gold medal in a world championship event.

Soleimani was born in 1955 in Tehran. Among his outstanding achievements in the sport was his gold medal after the Islamic Revolution of 1979 which was won in World Championship Martini, Switzerland in 1989. In the final match, Soleimani defeated the American Bruce Baumgartner with the score of 5-4.

Soleimani’s peak of career as wrestler was during 1980s when Iran’s participation in world championships was infrequent and as a result, Soleimani lost the competitions in two summer Olympics of 1980 and 1984 since Iran was absent and in 1988 he was denied visa.

However, Soleimani was competing in class of 97kg in Montreal when he was only 20 in 1976. He was out early from the competition with two losses and a win.

In Barcelona 1992, Soleimani was competing this time when he was 36, and was leading Iran’s Olympic delegation.

Soleimani scored three consecutive wins by technical fall; however, in fourth match, which lasted 10 minutes and 19 seconds, and in a close tie, Soleimani lost to Mahmoud Demir of Turkey.  With a draw with a Canadian wrestler in fifth match, Soleimani stood in sixth place overall.

Soleimani’s great feat however came in 1989 in World Championship, where he scored a crucial win against Bruce Baumgartner of the US, winning the gold medal of the event.

He had always competed for the heavy-weight class national squad place with Reza Soukhtesaraie, who was also his training mate.

The rivalry was over when in 1986 Asian Games in Seoul they both participated with Soukhtesaraie competing in Greco-Roman style. Both won the gold medals for heavy-weight.



News Code 102901

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