Sports have always played an important role in improving or at least making an effort to improve diplomatic ties between countries that don’t have friendly political relations with each other.
The International Olympic Committee announced in February to write off wrestling from the list of core sports and the rare sportsmen alliance between the two countries wants the committee to take back its decision and keep the sport into the Olympic Games’ program.
At the start of the Wrestling World Cup which was held in Tehran from February 21-22 this year, participants from both the countries held hands and smiled to the crowd while a banner waved behind them that read: ‘Olympics without wrestling! Never never’. Members of the U.S. team also shook hands with the Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad during the tournament.
It is definitely a positive step taken by the sportsmen especially when both the countries consider each other as political foes, for more than three decades now.
Iran has been accused of building nuclear weapons by the United States and has been severely criticized by Washington on several occasions.
The Head of Iranian Wrestling Federation Hojatollah Khatib hopes that the IOC will take back its decision after the ‘unprecedented unity’ between the two countries. The fate of wrestling will be decided probably in September.
Wrestling is one of the most popular sports played in Iran and the country won the World Cup this year beating Russia 6-1 in the final match.