(IranSportsPress.com-TehranTimes)- The 49th death anniversary of legendary Iranian wrestler Gholamreza Takhti was observed with reverence and respect on Friday.
President of Iran Wrestling Federation Rasoul Khadem and the top sports officials attended the commemoration.
Takhti was born in Tehran on August 27, 1930 and was found dead in a hotel room on January 7, 1968.
He was laid to rest at Ibn-e Babouyeh cemetery in southern Tehran, near Shahr-e Ray, where he is commemorated every year by Iranians.
When the news of Takhti’s death spread, the Iranian nation went into mourning. At least seven people killed themselves due to their sadness. One, a butcher in Kermanshah, left a note saying, “A world without the world’s champion is not a place to live.”
Takhti won the gold medal in the 1956 Olympic Games in Melbourne, defeating Boris Kulayev from Soviet Union in the final match.
He also claimed two Olympics silver medals in 1952 Helsinki and 1960 Rome.
Takhti won two World Championships gold medals in 1959 Tehran and 1961 Yokohama.
The freestyle wrestler has also seized a gold medal in the 1958 Asian Games held in Tokyo, Japan.
He is the most famous wrestler in Iranian history. The legend was known for his chivalry and sportsmanship and continues to symbolize the essence of sports to the Iranian people.
In 1961, a terrible earthquake occurred in Boein Zahra in western Iran, killing 45,000. Takhti was deeply touched by the suffering. Already one of Iran’s biggest stars, he began to walk one of the main avenues of Tehran, asking for assistance for the victims. He inspired other champions to follow in his footsteps, and thousands gave donations to alleviate the suffering.
Another example of his character comes from a match in Moscow. After defeating the then-world champion Anatoli Albul, Takhti saw the sorrow on the face of Albul’s mother. Takhti went to her and said, “I’m sorry about the result, but your son is a great wrestler.” She smiled and kissed him.
There is another memory that sheds more light on his character. Once he had a match with Russian wrestler Alexander Medved, who had an injured right knee. When Takhti found out that he was injured, he never attacked that leg. Instead, he tried to attack the other leg. Takhti finally lost the match.
Alexander Medved has come to Iran many times over the years to pay respect to the champion at his grave.