Friendly wrestling match between U.S., Iran to take place in New York Times Square

Photo: Friendly wrestling match between U.S., Iran to take place in New York Times Square / Iran

Azerbaijan, Baku, March 12 /Trend S.Isayev, T. Jafarov/

A friendly wrestling match between the teams of United States of America and The Islamic Republic of Iran will take place in 2 months in New York Times Square, Parsfootball website reported.

The exact date of the match was revealed as well - the wrestlers will lock horns on May 15.

Iran's Wrestling Federation confirmed that the U.S. authorities sent an invitation to the Iranian side, which was accepted.

Iran's national freestyle wrestling team, which includes 18 members (5 coaches plus athletes) will make a visit to the hosting country in the near future.

Iran and the U.S. have recently joined forces to try and keep the wrestling from being excluded from the 2020 Olympic Games.

"We need the backing of Iran and Russia, to preserve the wrestling, and this goes beyond politics. Iran is one of the powers in wrestling and can defend the game's credibility, executive director of USA Wrestling, Rich Bender said, according to AFP.

Speaking at a ceremony hosted by the Iranian Wrestling Federation, he said he hoped that, with the "comprehensive unity" among the wrestling power-houses, the IOC will change its decision.

The head of the Iranian Wrestling Federation, Hojatollah Khatib, said he hopes that "this unprecedented unity" can change the International Olympic Committee's decision.

The IOC's executive board, last week, voted to drop wrestling as one of the core sports of the games. That means it now joins seven others - baseball, softball, karate, squash, roller sports, sport climbing, wakeboarding and wushu - vying to be selected as an "additional sport."

The board will meet in May to consider presentations by their supporters and choose one to recommend to the full committee for a decision in September.

But the full committee is seen as unlikely to vote against the executive board, raising the prospect that one of the few sports that survived from the original Olympics in ancient Greece into the modern era will disappear.

The sport first appeared in 708 BC and has only ever been left out of the Olympic program once before in 1900.

Wrestling has an ancient history in Iran, dating back when Persian kings would battle their opponents in epic matches. The sport attracts millions of followers across the country, and unofficial figures say tens of thousands actually go to the mats.

Wrestling-mad Iran was one of the first nations to criticize the move to scrap the sport, dubbing it a "big blow" to the country's sport which has been medal winner for the country.

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