(Persia Digest) – Iran’s most popular athlete and hero, Gholam-Reza Takhti, was born on a day like this on 27 August 1930.
Throughout his life, Takhti was active in charity and public work and helped the disadvantaged. One of his most important actions was fundraising for the earthquake victims of Boein Zahra, Ghazvin Province, in 1962 which has been immortalized in the historical memory of the Iranian people.
Iran’s most popular hero is known as Jahan Pahlavan Takhti. He is the symbol of valor and bravery in the country’s sports culture.
Many books have been compiled on him and two films have been made about his life. Numerous sports centers have also been named after him across Iran and the “Gholam-Reza Takhti Prize” is awarded to Iran’s best wrestlers in his honor every year. His birthday has been designated as the National Wrestling Day on Iran’s official calendar.
Takhti gained Iran’s first Olympic medal at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics together with Emamali Habibi. With one gold and two silver Olympic medals, two gold and two silver world championship medals, and a gold Asian Games medal, Takhti is on the World Wrestling Federation’s list of top athletes for the century. His portrait, together with those of Emamali Habibi and Abdollah Movahed, hangs in the World Wrestling Federation Hall of Fame (FILA).
Jahan Pahlavan Takhti’s life drew to a close under suspicious circumstances on 7 January 1968 in his room at the Atlantic Hotel in Tehran. There is much controversy about the causes of his death. Suicide and murder by the Iranian intelligence agency (SAVAK) are two of the main hypotheses of Takhti's death because of his disloyalty to the political system of the time. However, last year, Gholam-Reza’s only son, Babak Takhti's, confirmed that his father had not been killed, but committed suicide.
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