Dehbozorgi and Nosrati give Iran a golden double in Greco-Roman wrestling

Amirreza Mohammadreza Dehbozorgi produced an impressive performance in the final of the men’s Greco-Roman 45kg class as he overcame Ecuador’s Jeremy Gonzalez 8-0 to clinch gold for Iran.

Picture by IOC / OIS

In the bronze medal match, Bulgaria’s Edmond Nazaryan overcame Arslenbek Zakirbayev of Turkmenistan.

Elsewhere on a packed programme, Japan’s Waturu Sasaki defeated Giorgi Tokhadze of Georgia in the 51kg class, with Mexico’s Axel Esquivel Salas taking bronze.

In the 60kg class, gold went to Georgia’s Giorgi Chikhivadze thanks to victory over Elmirbek Sadyrov of Kyrgyzstan, with Savak Hovhannisyan of Armenia making up the podium.

Alexandrin Gutu of Moldova continued a day of success for wrestlers from the former Soviet states taking gold in his bout with Russia’s Stepan Starodubtsev in the 71kg class, in which Japan’s Shu Yamada claimed bronze.

Dehbozorgi’s compatriot Mohammad Ghorbanali Nosrati (IRI) completed the men’s Greco-Roman finals with a gold medal in the 92kg class, to provide Iran with two titles on the opening day of the wrestling programme at BA 2018.

Boy from the barrios

However, the story of the day was arguably the silver medal won by Gonzalez who handed Ecuador its first ever Olympic wrestling medal.

The 15-year-old’s story is one that demonstrates poignantly the power of the Olympics to transform lives. Gonzalez had escaped a life of drugs, crime and poverty in the barrios to battle his way to sporting success.

Giorgi Chkhikvadze of Georgia and Elmirbek Sadyrov of Kyrgyzstan (yellow) during the Wrestling Greco-Roman - Men’s 60kg (IOC / OIS)

And despite an emphatic defeat in the final against Dehbozorgi, Gonzalez was ecstatic to win silver, bursting into tears as he waved his country’s flag around the mat.

“I don't have words to explain this,” the 15-year-old said of his success, a most positive reminder that his choice three years ago of sport over drug crime was a good one.

“Only to be here is a great honour but to get a silver medal makes me so happy, so satisfied. It's a great feeling.”

Gonzalez hails from the deprived area of Guasmo in Ecuador’s largest city, Guayaquil, and took up the sport when many of his friends chose another path.


“When we were about 10, 11 years old, people started to consume and sell drugs,” Peralta Gonzalez said. “I started with sport because the people in my area simply hurt themselves with bad things and I decided not to.” 

He was quick to pay tribute to his mother - who had raised him and his four siblings single-handedly. “When I felt like throwing everything in my life away she told me I couldn’t because I am a winner and a good person and I could do more for my family than this,” he said. “When I didn’t have any money for the bus to the training she always found a way to find money.”

Gonzalez hopes that winning the medal can improve life for himself and the twins he is months away from becoming a father, too. “I don’t have a lot of money but I dream of a better life and a little house and food to eat,” he said.

Role model

He also wants to start a wrestling school in Guasmo, hoping that his medal can show children there that sport can be a way to survive. “I would like to get all of the drugs out of there and get all of them into sport,” he said.

Back home they call me a role model. Jeremy Renzon Peralta Gonzalez Ecuador - Jeremy Renzon Peralta Gonzalez Ecuador

Augusto Moran Nuques, the president of Ecuador’s Olympic Committee, has been following Peralta Gonzalez’s journey and celebrated the historic medal in Asia Pavilion with a big group of countrymen. “This is an opportunity that maybe changed his life through sport, that shows how Olympic values can change a life through sport,” Moran Nuques said.

To be able to show that is much more valuable than any medal. Augusto Moran NuquesPresident of Ecuador’s Olympic Committee - Augusto Moran NuquesPresident of Ecuador’s Olympic Committee