Don Apodaca

Don with old friend
Freestyle World Champion Bob Anderson

Iran has won (as a team) every Vet tournament in the last
10 years. The U.S. sent about 17 wrestlers. Iran sent about 75…..the
most of any country. If a wrestler places in the top 10 in his weight class
he scores points for his team. So Iran practically had the tournament won
before it started. I had matches scheduled with two different
Iranians….one of whom was a former world champion.

After the tournament, Ali Zeraati, asked to have his picture with me and
he insisted I hold my bronze medal. A second before the picture was shot he
pulled out a bigger, gold medal, and held it next to mine (I don’t know
where he got it). It was funny to me, but he was very serious and insisted I
send him a copy of the photo. You can’t tell from the photo, but Ali
has a ponytail.

His coach, the head of the Iranian team, had a large cyst on his right eye.
When they found out my occupation they asked me to examine his coach’s eye,
which I did. It appeared benign and they were very appreciative towards me
the whole tournament except when I wrestled Ali Siahposht, the other Iranian
in my weight, and former world champion, who beat me.

2007 Veterans Freestyle World Championships
Istanbul Turkey
Ali Zeraati (IRI) and Don Apodaca 

2007 Veterans Freestyle World Championships
Istanbul Turkey
Don Apodaca (red hat), BRONZE MEDALLIST, Div. E 85 kg