At the 2000 Sydney Olympics, Melelashvili competed for the Georgian wrestling team in the 76-kg division (Greco-Roman). In the first round, he lost his first match to American Matt Lindland, 3-0. In his second match, he defeated Evgeniey Erofaylov of Uzbekistan, 3-0, and then won his final match in a forfeit as Keder Slila of Algeria was injured. Unfortunately, Tarieli did not advance past the first round because Lindland went undefeated in the group.
Born in Georgia in the former Soviet Union, Melelashvili began wrestling at the age of 10. In 1993, he won the gold medal at the European Junior Championships in the 63-kg division. The following year, he moved up to the 68-kg class and won the silver medal at the World Junior Championships. In 1995, he competed in the senior competition at the World Championships and finished in fifth place. The following year, 1996, Tarieli placed sixth at the European Championships.
In the late 1990s, Melelashvili moved up in weight. He placed fifth at the 1998 European Championships in the 69-kg class and fourth in the 1999 European Championships in the 76-kg class. Later that year, he finished fourth in the same weight class at the World Championships.
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