Although US and Iran may not see eye to eye about politics, but wrestlers from both the countries have pledged to fight together to keep wrestling in the Olympic games.
Wrestling officials from the arch foes appeared to be in bonding mode Tuesday on the sidelines of a Tehran tournament less than a week after the stunning decision by the International Olympic Committee that will force the ancient sport to lobby for a spot at the 2020 Games, the New York Daily News reports.
According to the paper, the fight to keep wrestling in the Olympics has brought the U.S. and Cuban federations into a possible alliance, but close cooperation between Iran and America would be an even more remarkable display of common cause with almost everything else driving them apart led by an impasse over Tehran's nuclear program and Western sanctions that have upended the Iranian economy.
It's unlikely that any kind of wrestling detente would spill over into the wider issues, but it's certain to at least draw attention to the power of sports as a low-risk icebreaker going back to the historic 1971 'pingpong diplomacy' between China and the U.S, the paper said,
Mitch Hull, national teams director for USA Wrestling, said they would be standing arm-in-arm with Iran, and they would be standing with Russia, as they will with lots of other countries
Hull added those countries really do make a difference because politically they are not always on the same page, or politically with Russia, but in wrestling, there's no doubt that they are all together in this effort and they consider Iran one of their strongest allies in the sport of wrestling.
Hull described them as sport rivals, but said they are friends in sport, too.
Hojatollah Khatib, the head of Iran's wrestling federation, said the tournament would offer the best opportunity to confront the decision to drop the sport from the Olympics, adding they should resist the decision, determinedly, (ANI)