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USA Wrestling for Peace sets up in the Middle East, with Dan Russell living in Jordan for months so far

By USA Wrestling for Peace | April 03, 2020, 9:49 a.m. (ET)

Photo: USA Wrestling for Peace Ambassador Dan Russell with Farnaz Panahizedeh, the first Iranian woman selected for the Commission for Women and Sport.

USA Wrestling for Peace Ambassador Dan Russell moved to Amman, Jordan about six months ago to establish Wrestling for Peace in the region. He has formed a joint committee with the Jordanian Wrestling Federation to serve the needs of those in the wrestling match of life.

Everyone wrestles. For the people of Jordan, the Middle-East and throughout the Asia region, wrestling bridges the gap to greater understanding and respect that can positively impact local communities.

Why would we establish a USA Wrestling for Peace base in Amman, Jordan?

With ongoing war in the region and animosity, Jordan is one of the few countries that has remained focused on keeping peace and living in harmony. Jordan is the poorest Arab country with widespread unemployment. Refugees from Syria and Iraq have flooded its borders and much of its resources and attention are directed toward the refugees, while Jordanians suffer as well. Plagued with water shortages, Jordan ranks second in the world with least access to clean water.

With tremendous partners like “Make it Rain,” we can also provide much needed Humanitarian Aid where the needs are great and develop grass roots wrestling programs that can play a big role in teaching character and values.

When people struggle, it is a shared experience. When we choose to wrestle through the struggle, we develop the courage to overcome hardships, and we have compassion to help those in need. It doesn't matter where we go - whether walking through a city in North Africa, an airport in Central Asia, or an open air market in the Middle East - wherever we go, we find wrestlers. And through wrestling there is a universal connection and an opportunity to raise up leaders that impact our community and world.

Jordan is a special opportunity for the wrestling family.

We are building a long term strategy in the region beginning at the grass roots level. The long-term strategy is developing wrestling programs for kids for both boys and girls.

United World Wrestling and the Jordan Olympic Committee have identified the development of women’s wrestling as a top priority in this region.

UWW has appointed Farnaz Panahizadeh to the Commission for Women and Sport as well as the Development for wrestling in the Asia Region. Dan and Farnaz are talking about ways Wrestling for Peace can help. Wrestling is a cultural force that can make a significant difference in struggling communities.

We have begun a dialogue with a foundation that has sports programs in a thousand schools throughout Jordan. They have expressed an interest in including wrestling in these schools for both boys and girls if we could train coaches. They have the infrastructure to help us use wrestling as a positive influence in these struggling communities.

The needs are great but the wrestling family is united on a vision. Together we can make a difference that matters.

Our sport imparts the skills necessary to face the challenges life presents. We live in a demanding world. Wrestling embodies a rich history of developing great leaders that are able to face extraordinary opposition. These leaders can make a tremendous impact in the their local communities and culture.

For more information on USA Wrestling for Peace, Click Here.