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Ibrahim wins Egypt's first gold in 56 years

August 27, 2004 01:13 IST

Greco-Roman wrestler Karam Ibrahim won Egypt's first Olympic gold medal in 56 years on Thursday, crushing Ramaz Nozadze of Georgia in just over three minutes to lift the 96kg title in Athens.

Ibrahim started in typically aggressive fashion, seeking quick points in a bid to assert control of the bout. He surrendered the first point, but then stormed back to clinch the tie 12-1.

"I like it each time when I reach a point," said the Egyptian. "This is why I make so many points. I have fun doing it."

The Egyptian anthem was last played at a medals ceremony at the 1948 Games in London when the Arab state won two gold medals.

"I dedicate it to my country, my family and all the Arab nations," said Ibrahim. "I tried very hard and here I am now, an Olympic champion."

In Athens, the Egyptian's opponents stood no chance as the tall, broad-shouldered wrestler used his strength and balance to win his bouts comfortably.

Ibrahim blew kisses to the crowd and bowed as they applauded his win achieved in just over half the allotted six-minute period.

The bout was concluded before the clock ran out because Ibrahim achieved a winning margin of at least 10 points.

Alexandr Dokturishivili of Uzbekistan won the 74kg gold after beating Marko Yli-Hannuksela of Finland 4-1, while Jung Ji-hyun of South Korea beat Cuban Roberto Monzon in a tight contest for the 60kg crown.

"When I saw that all my other compatriots were winning medals and that they did not expect one from me, I thought I'd show them," said the Korean.

Russian Varteres Samourgachev earlier took the 74kg bronze medal after scoring an easy 10-0 victory over Reto Bucher of Switzerland.

Armen Nazarian of Bulgaria, a gold medallist in the past two Olympics, won the 60kg bronze by overturning a 2-0 deficit against Alexey Shevtsov of Russia for a 4-3 score.

Nazarian won gold in Atlanta in 1996 as an Armenian before becoming a Bulgarian and winning another gold in Sydney in 2000.

"I've now got different medals in my collection and I intend to continue wrestling," he said.

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