USA Wrestling plans to send team to Freestyle World Cup in Kermanshah, Iran, Feb. 16-17

By USA Wrestling | Jan. 30, 2017, 12:10 p.m. (ET)
Delegations from USA Wrestling and the Iran Wrestling Federation greet each other during the 2013 Rumble on the Rails Beat the Streets event in Grand Central Terminal in New York City. Photo by Anne Sachs,

USA Wrestling plans to send an official delegation to participate in the Freestyle World Cup, set for Feb. 16-17 in Kermanshah, Iran. This is the annual World dual meet championship for men’s freestyle wrestling and one of the most prestigious competitions each year in international wrestling.

“This tour continues a long history of goodwill and cooperation between the United States and Iran through wrestling, which is an impressive example of diplomacy between the people of these nations through sport. This is an important international competition, and we look forward to competing against the World’s best wrestling teams,” said Rich Bender, USA Wrestling Executive Director.

USA Wrestling sponsored the first American sports team to compete in Iran after an absence of nearly 20 years, when a U.S. freestyle wrestling team competed in the 1998 Takhti Cup in Tehran.

A U.S. team has competed in the Takhti Cup in various Iranian cities nine times (1998, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2007, 2009, 2011 and 2015). The U.S. also competed at the 1998 World Championships held in Tehran. The U.S. sent a team to the Emam Ali Habibi and Abdollah Movahed Cup in Qaemshar in 2010. The U.S. competed in the 2013 Freestyle World Cup in Tehran and the 2014 Greco-Roman World Cup in Tehran. In addition, the U.S.-based Titan Mercury Wrestling Club competed in the Freestyle World Club Championships in Joybari in 2014 and Mazandaran in 2015

That makes it 15 times, USA Wrestling has been in Iran for wrestling since the Iranian Revolution.

Iran has competed in wrestling in the United States numerous times. This included the 1995 World Championships in Atlanta, the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta and the 1998 Junior World Championships in Primm, Nev., the 1998 Goodwill Games in New York City, the 2003 World Championships in New York City and the 2015 World Championships in Las Vegas. In addition, the Iranian team competed in the World Cup held in the United States seven times (1995 in Chattanooga, 1998 in Stillwater, 1999 in Spokane, 2000 in Fairfax, Va. and 2001 in Baltimore, and three times in Los Angeles, 2014, 2015 and 2016). We also had an Iranian team in the USA for training at the Olympic Training Center in 2012. Iran competed in the 2013 Beat the Streets event in Grand Central Station and the 2016 Beat the Streets event in Times Square, both in New York City.

That makes it 16 times the Iranians have come to the USA as guest of USA Wrestling since the 1990s.

The U.S. Freestyle World Cup delegation will feature 13 athletes, two coaches, a referee, a medical staff member and a videographer, plus other official delegates.

USA Wrestling has a long tradition of competing with nations which may not have a strong relationship between their governments. During the Cold War, U.S. wrestling teams regularly competed in the Soviet Union and in other nations in Eastern Europe, and teams from those nations competed in the United States often. Since the Cuban Revolution, U.S. wrestling teams have competed in Cuba on almost an annual basis, and Cuban teams were regular participants in U.S.-based competitions.