U S wrestlers to compete in Takhti Cup in Iran in May
A team of U.S. wrestlers have entered the international Takhti Cup in Iran. The Greco-Roman competition will be held in Sanandaj, Iran, May 15-16 and the freestyle competition will be held in Tehran, Iran, May 22-23. Coaching both U.S. teams will be Dan Russell of Gresham, Ore., a top Greco-Roman wrestler as an athlete who has become one of the nation's best volunteer coaches. Amir Bashiri of Atlanta, Ga., an Iranian-American who is an active volunteer within USA Wrestling, is serving as the team leader for both groups. The U.S. Greco-Roman team consists of two athletes, 2002 U.S. World Team member T.C. Dantzler (Colorado Springs, Colo./New York AC) at 74 kg/163 lbs. and 2003 U.S. Nationals runner-up Mike Ellsworth (Colorado Springs, Colo. (Michigan WC) at 66 kg/145.5 lbs. The Greco-Roman team has already arrived in Iran and is doing its final preparations for the competition. The U.S. freestyle team has yet to receive its visas, but will compete when that process is completed. Three athletes will participate in the freestyle competition in Iran. Among the athletes is 2003 U.S. Nationals runner-up Dean Morrison (Colorado Springs, Colo./New York AC) at 96 kg/211.25 lbs. Also competing are veteran Brian Keck (Colorado Springs, Colo./New York AC) at 120 kg/264.5 lbs. and young star Andy Hrovat (Ann Arbor, Mich./New York AC) at 74 kg/163 lbs. This will be the fourth time that USA Wrestling has participated in the Takhti Cup, with U.S. teams participating in 1998, 2000 and 2001. The United States wrestling team was the first U.S. sports team to compete in Iran after the Iranian revolution when the team competed in the 1998 Takhti Cup. The U.S. also competed in the 1998 World Freestyle Championships held in Iran. "USA Wrestling has developed a close friendly relationship with the Iranian wrestling federation over many years," said USA Wrestling Executive Director. "The wrestling federation in Iran invited the United States specifically to compete in this year's Takhti Cup. They indicated that our participation would be helpful in the decision that Iran will participate in the 2003 World Freestyle Championships in New York City." Each of the athletes, as well as the coach and team leader, volunteered to participate in this event. USA Wrestling's Executive Committee approved the U.S. team's participation in the competition. 2003 TAKHTI CUP U.S. Greco-Roman team to compete in Sanandaj, Iran, May 15-16 66 kg/145.5 lbs. - Mike Ellsworth, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Michigan WC) 74 kg/163 lbs. - T.C. Dantzler, Colorado Springs, Colo. (New York AC) Head coach - Dan Russell, Gresham, Ore. Team leader - Amir Bashiri, Atlanta, Ga. U.S. freestyle team to compete in Tehran, Iran, May 22-23 74 kg/163 lbs. - Andy Hrovat, Ann Arbor, Mich. (New York AC) 96 kg/211.25 lbs. - Dean Morrison, Colorado Springs, Colo. (New York AC) 120 kg/264.5 lbs. - Brian Keck, Colorado Springs, Colo. (New York AC) Head coach - Dan Russell, Gresham, Ore. Team leader - Amir Bashiri, Atlanta, Ga.