American athletes get star treatment in Iran: “USA, USA” chants for US athletes

“People look at me like I have two heads,” said James Ravannack, describing the reaction he gets when he explains to people what a fabulous time he had in Iran. Ravannack, president of USA Wrestling, told Al-Monitor that he “can’t wait to go back” and wants to take his family along to stay for a month. […]

For Americans, who tend to view Iran through the lens of the 1979 hostage crisis or President George W. Bush’s “axis of evil” speech, going to Iran and actually meeting its people can be mind-blowing.

Robby Smith, 27, the number one US heavyweight Greco-Roman wrestler, told Al-Monitor that the reception he got from Iranian fans was “the most incredible I’ve ever experienced.” […]

The Iranians kept chanting, “ ‘R. Smith’ and ‘USA, USA!’ ” Smith said. The same thing happened after he came from behind against an Armenian wrestler and when he returned, in plain clothes, toward the end of the event. “Thousands of Iranians chanting ‘USA!’” […] Fraser, who estimates that he has visited 50 countries in 19 years with USA Wrestling, said, “Iran was, if not the top, then at the top” of all of them. He added, “[Iranians] are some of the nicest people I’ve ever met. They treated us like royalty.” […]

This reporter was present in 1998 when US wrestlers returned to Iran for the first time since the 1979 revolution. The US flag was displayed in Tehran’s Azadi stadium — not burned as usual in an anti-American demonstration — and Iranian fans cheered as much or more for the Americans as they did for their own team. […]

A unique feature of the recent trip to Iran by the US wrestlers is that their current team leader — a Minneapolis wrestling enthusiast named Christina “Kiki” Kelley — is a woman. […] Kelley, who like the other members of the US delegation, had expected a grim, strict Islamic state, came prepared with ultra-conservative black clothes — which elicited giggles, she said, from many Iranians. Asked to participate in the opening ceremonies for the competition, she changed into red, white and blue.

“I kept my head bowed until we were two-thirds of the way around, when I realized that men were standing and that they were not booing, they were cheering,” […]

Kelley was invited by her Iranian hosts to stay an extra six days, which gave her a chance to travel to Isfahan and to go to schools, an orphanage and numerous cultural sites, including a private art collection at the parliament in Tehran. She, like Ravannack, said she wants to go back with her family and is also considering becoming a sports and cultural ambassador to Iran if the US government decides to appoint one.

Source: Al-Monitor | US athletes get star treatment in Iran, Facebook | Steven H Fraser | Photos, Muftah | Iran and the United States Wrestle with Love

Iranian players handed white roses (a symbol of peace in Iran) to the US players prior to soccer match

American and Iranian team players pose before their historic game at the 1998 World Cup in France, which Iran went on to win 2-1.

The game was an exceptionally fair game and both teams received the fairplay award for the 1998 world cup:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FIFA_Fair_Play_Award

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Laleh Seddigh – Iranian female racing driver

Remarkable people with Iranian roots

A PhD student from Tehran, she has been nicknamed “a little Schumacher” after the German Formula One champion. She has been given the title of Iran’s best female racing driver. The story is featured in a BBC TV documentary called “Girl Racer”.

The documentary can be viewed here:

Image

She earned international fame by fending off a host of male competitors to become Iran’s national rally champion in 2005.

More infos:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laleh_Seddigh
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/14/international/middleeast/14seddigh.html?_r=2&pagewanted=all

The best posts on Iranian women:
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Photo gallery: Alvares Ski Resort in Iran’s Ardebil Province

Iran Sareyn Sarein MapAlvares is a ski resort in Iran’s northern province of Ardabil. It is the second standard ski resort in Iran and is situated in the village of Alvares which is located 24 kilometers away from the city of Sareyn.

Sources: TASNIM | Photos, wikipedia | Sareyn

Photos: International Equestrian Tournament for teenage jockeys was held in Chitgar Park in Tehran, Iran

Thirty eight jockeys competed in the 1st International Equestrian Tournament for Juniors (jockeys aged between 14 and 18) organized by the Equestrian Federation of Iran.

The tournament took place from April 23 to April 24 in Chitgar Park, Tehran. Embassadors from Belgium, Belarus, Spain and Turkmenistan visited the event. The first place went to Sobhan Youssefi riding Fouravar, Arshia Tassafi riding Butterfly took the second place and Amir Azsalan Tambakoukar riding Jalisco the third.

The restults on Thursday were:
1st place: Salar Golestanian riding Anora,
2nd place: Mehrdad Ameri riding Karbeh and
3rd place: Sobhan Yousefi riding Fouravar

Sources: International Equestrian Federation | Calendar , IRNA | Photos, Equestrian Federation of Iran | News

 

 

Iran’s beach soccer national team qualified to Portugal 2015

Iran's Beach Football Team - Qualified to Portugal 2015

Iran have booked their ticket to the 2015 FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup, after an 8-3 victory over Lebanon in the third-placed play-off at the 2015 AFC Beach Soccer Championship in Doha, Qatar.

After a slow start, Iran took a 2-0 lead after the end of the first period before making it 4-0. Lebanon battled to reduce the deficit and scored two goals but Iran kept their foot on the accelerator as they ended the match with an 8-3 win.

Iran will be playing in their sixth FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup while the Lebanese will have to wait to appear at their first global finals on the sand. Iran joins Oman and Japan as Asia’s final representative in Portugal.

Iran’s beach soccer squad list ( as of March 2015 in fifa.com)
1 Peyman HOSSEINI
2 Amir AKBARI
3 Hassan ABDOLLAHI
4 Mehdi HASSAN
5 Ali NADERI
6 Mostafa KIANI
7 Mehran MORSHEDI
8 Farid BOULOKBASHI
9 Mohammad MOKHTARI
10 Moslem MESIGAR
11 Mohammad AHMADZADEH
12 Mohammad HAJIPOUR
Coach: Marco OCTAVIO (BRA)

Source: FIFA

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Iran wins Friendly against Chile 2:0

Copa America hosts Chile (World Ranking: 42) saw their preparations for the competition hit a bump on Thursday as they were beaten 2-0 by Iran (World Ranking: 15) at St Polten’s NV Arena in Austria.

Sources: FIFA | Chile, FIFA | Iran, Goal.com | Game Stats, Goal.com | Game Report