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Iran's wrestling federation president resigns over team's poor performance at Worlds

Rasoul Khadem talks to Alireza Karimi-Machiani at the Freestyle World Cup (Photo/Tony Rotundo, WrestlersAreWarriors.com)

Rasoul Khadem has resigned as Iran's wrestling federation president, the Tehran Times reported Wednesday.

"Khadem's resignation came three days after poor results of Iranian wrestlers in the Wrestling World Championships in Budapest, Hungary," was the explanation given by the Tehran Times which describes itself as "Iran's leading international daily." "No Iranian wrestler could reach the final in the competitions."

While no Iranian wrestlers made it to the gold-medal round, four earned bronze medals at the 2018 Worlds: freestyle wrestlers Hassan Yazdani, Alireza Karimi and Parviz Hadi, while, in Greco-Roman competition, Mehdi Aliyari also claimed bronze.

The Iranian team placed 25th in the final team standings at the World championships which concluded this weekend.

Khadem said that, in order for Iran to return to its past glory among the world's top wrestling programs, the nation must choose a new federation leader ... and make an "infrastructure investment."

Khadem added that the time was right for a change at the top, on the heels of the 2018 Worlds, and less than two years until the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.

"Iran wrestling will return to its glorious days with a little consideration for sure," Khadem said.

This is not the first time that the 46-year-old Khadem has resigned as head of Iran's wrestling federation. As InterMat reported in March, Khadem stated that he had been forced out of the job just two months after being re-elected to the position when he criticized Iranian authorities for forcing a wrestler not to compete against an athlete from Israel at the 2017 U23 World Senior Wrestling Championship in Poland in November. Multiple reports indicate that a sideline coach told Iran's Alireza Karimi-Machiani to intentionally lose a match to a Russian opponent so that he would not have to wrestle an Israeli opponent in the next round.

Iran does not recognize the state of Israel and forbids its athletes from competing against Israelis at international sports events.

That resignation appears to have been short-lived. According to the Tehran Times, Khadem's resignation back in March was rejected by the Ministry of Sport and Youth.

Prior to taking the helm of Iran's wrestling federation, Rasoul Khadem was an accomplished wrestler for his homeland. He was a two-time Olympic medalist, winning a bronze medal in the 1992 Games in Barcelona, and gold at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. Khadem was also twice a world champion (1994, 1995) and six-time Asian champion.

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MLJ (1) about 10 months ago
"The Iranian team placed 25th in the final team standings at the World championships which concluded this weekend."

If they promote women's wrestling, that standing would be better.

After all, they only sent wrestlers to compete in two out of the three categories.