The wrestling authorities and athletes from the United States and Iran may have accomplished what so many years haven’t done the diplomats. The International Olympic Committee announced on February that wrestling will be excluded from its list of core sports. In a rare alliance the US and Iran have joined forces to keep wrestling into Olympic Games’ program.
At the start of the Wrestling World Cup, hosted in Tehran from February 21-22, American and Iranian athletes held hands and smiled to the crowd while standing behind a long banned that read: “Olympics without wrestling! never never” in both English and Farsi. “We need the backing of Iran and Russia… to preserve wrestling, and this goes beyond politics… Iran is one of the powers in wrestling and can defend the game’s credibility,” said Rich Bender, executive director of USA Wrestling, according to the ISNA state news agency.
Iran has a long tradition in wrestling. The head of the Iranian Wrestling Federation, Hojatollah Khatib, said he hoped the “unprecedented unity” between the two political foes would make the IOC to reverse its decision. The IOC will decide on September if will keep wrestling into the Olympics.
It is worth mentioning that the US and Iran cut their diplomatic relations more than three decades ago. On 18 March Iran and Western countries will meet in Turkey to discuss on nuclear matters. In April will meet again in Kazakhstan. In the past, Washington has accused Tehran for building a nuclear weapon but the latter has denied it.