Wednesday, 23 January, 2019

A Gentle Giant: Gholamreza Takhti, Iran’s Modern Legendary Hero

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The writing is due to the death of Iran’s Legendary hero who departed the earth on January 7 many years ago but still his name is remembered with chivalry and honesty.

Gholam Reza Takhti was born in 27 August 1930, in Tehran and raised in poor circumstances. 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 gained a silver medal in the World Championships at Helsinki in 1951, followed by silver at the Helsinki Olympics.

He was known as Jahān Pahlevān (“The World Champion”) because of his chivalrous behavior and sportsmanship. Although dozens of Iranian athletes have won more international medals than he did but he was the most popular athlete of Iran in the 20th century.

Takhti is still a hero to many Iranians and is listed in the FILA wrestling hall of fame. Adjectives such as chivalry, humility, kindness, and gentleness consistently follow references to Takhti’s name. But the wrestler’s legendary status does not, as some might assume, derive only from his athletic prowess. Rather, it was his status as a moral exemplar for Iranians, as well as the world, that really set Takhti apart.

January 7th, 2015 is the 47th anniversary of the death (1968) of Iran’s most popular sports legend, Gholamreza Takhti, the country’s first world champion wrestler and first international medalist in the sport. Had he not died so young, Takhti would have turned 75 this week. His mysterious death in 07 January 1968 was “officially” listed as suicidal but the popular opinion was one of political assassination by government security service known as “SAVAK”.

The late Gholamreza Takhti is the highest ranked Iranian wrestler in history of Iranian wrestling. With one gold (1956 Melbourne) and two silver medals (1952 Helsinki, 1960 Rome) in Olympic games, and two gold (1959 of Tehran, 1961 of Yokohama) and again two silver medals (1951 of Helsinky, 1962 of Toledo) in World Championships, the legendary Takhti is the most celebrated wrestler in Iranian wrestling.

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