Iran’s wrestling team overpowers U.S. in a friendly match

Posted on May 16, 2013

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iran-usa-wrestlingIran’s National Freestyle wrestling team has overpowered its opponents from the U.S. on its soil, in a friendly match, Mehr news agency reported.

The match took place in New York’s Madison Square Garden, where Iran came out victorious with a 6-1 final score.

The fans waving Iranian flags and stomping on the temporary bleachers were treated to a show of dominance by the wrestling power, as Iran was visiting the United States for the first time in a decade.

“It’s typical Iranian. Wherever we go, they do the same thing,” two-time world champion Mehdi Taghavi Kermani said through a translator after winning his match at 145-and-a-half pounds.

Iran also will face the U.S. in Los Angeles on Sunday.

In March, Iran’s Wrestling Federation confirmed that the U.S. authorities sent an invitation to the Iranian side, which was accepted.

Iran and the U.S. have recently joined forces to try and keep the wrestling from being excluded from the 2020 Olympic Games.

The friendly match was organized in a move to let the International Olympic Committee change its decision about excluding wrestling from the 2020 Olympic Games.

AFP reported citing the executive director of USA Wrestling, Rich Bender that US “needs the backing of Iran and Russia, to preserve the wrestling, and this goes beyond politics”.

Bender noted that Iran is one of the powers in wrestling and can defend the game’s credibility.

Speaking at a ceremony hosted by the Iranian Wrestling Federation, he said he hoped that, with the “comprehensive unity” among the wrestling power-houses, the IOC will change its decision.

The head of the Iranian Wrestling Federation, Hojatollah Khatib, said he hopes that “this unprecedented unity” can change the International Olympic Committee’s decision.

The IOC’s executive board in February voted to drop wrestling as one of the core sports of the games. That means it now joins seven others – baseball, softball, karate, squash, roller sports, sport climbing, wakeboarding and wushu – vying to be selected as an “additional sport.”

Wrestling is now one of eight sports seeking to fill one spot in the 2020 Olympics. The IOC board will meet May 29 in Russia to recommend a short list, with the final decision in September.

Wrestling first appeared in 708 BC and has only ever been left out of the Olympic program once before in 1900.

Wrestling has an ancient history in Iran, dating back when Persian kings would battle their opponents in epic matches. The sport attracts millions of followers across the country, and unofficial figures say tens of thousands actually go to the mats.

Iran was one of the first nations to criticize the move to scrap the sport, dubbing it a “big blow” to the country’s sport which has been medal winner for the country.

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Posted in: iran society