Ellsworth wins first bout Dantzler drops two in Takhti Cup in Iran May 15

By Gary Abbott | May 15, 2003, 12 a.m. (ET)
Mike Ellsworth (Colorado Springs, Colo./Michigan WC) won his first match and will advance to the second day of the Takhti Cup of Greco-Roman wrestling in Sanandaj, Iran, May 15. Ellsworth defeated his first opponent, an athlete from Iran, by a 7-1 score. If Ellsworth wins his next bout, he captures his pool competition and will advance into the championship bracket. Ellsworth, who competes at 66 kg/145.5 lbs., was 2003 U.S. Nationals runner-up and is a USOTC resident athlete. A team of U.S. wrestlers have entered the international Takhti Cup in Iran. The Greco-Roman competition will be held , May 15-16 and the freestyle competition will be held in Tehran, Iran, May 22-23. T.C. Dantzler (Colorado Springs, Colo./New York AC) dropped both of his matches at 74 kg/163 lbs. In his opening match, he was defeated in overtime, 3-0, by Nahatpour of Iran. The match was decided in the clinch position. In his second match, officials did not allow Dantzler to wear his knee brace, and he was slowed by a knee injury. He lost 3-0 to Pahervaveh of Iran and was eliminated from medal contention. Coaching the U.S. team is 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. Russell has been pleased by the tremendous treatment that the U.S. team has received from the Iranian people, starting with a large crowd of media and fans that met them when they arrived in the Tehran airport. "They gave us a standing ovation when we walked in to compete today," said Russell. "They have been great the whole time." This is the fourth time that USA Wrestling has participated in the Takhti Cup, with U.S. teams also 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. 2003 TAKHTI CUP at Sanandaj, Iran, May 15 U.S. bouts 66 kg/145.5 lbs. - Mike Ellsworth, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Michigan WC) - dec. opponent's name unknown (Iran), 7-1 74 kg/163 lbs. - T.C. Dantzler, Colorado Springs, Colo. (New York AC) - lost dec. to Nahatpour (Iran), 3-0, ot; lost dec. to Pahervaveh (Iran), 3-0