Iran has a very rich sporting history. It is the birthplace of polo which was recorded to have been played there in as early as the 6th century BC. However, freestyle wrestling is regarded as their traditional sport and is officially their national sport. However, with about two thirds of the country's population being under 30, there are a lot of sports that have recently gained in popularity. As in many parts of the world, Association Football is the most popular sport among the masses.
Iran is also one of the few countries that still holdfast to their traditional sport of wrestling, and is still popular among the young. Iran's style of wrestling, commonly called koshti, has changed very little since its ancient roots. The Iranian wrestling team have become international champions and even Olympic gold medalists.
Iran's national football team is three-time Asian Cup champions and the basketball team has taken a number of Asian Championships. Iran is also the first West Asian country to ever host the Asian Games (in 1974). The team made its FIFA World Cup debut in 1978
The Iran national futsal team is one of the strongest in the world. This team has won the AFC Futsal Championship the most of any nation. Iran also has a nationwide Super Futsal League.
Iran has also produced some of the biggest names in weightlifting, namely Hossein Rezazadeh and Behdad Salimi. Hossein Rezazadeh is a two-time Olympic gold medalist (2000 and 2004). He also took the bronze (1999) before becoming a four-time World Weightlifting champion (2002, 2003, 2005 and 2006). Behdad Salimi took home one Olympic gold (2012), a couple of gold (2010 and 2011) and a silver (2014) in the World Championships.
You may also be surprised that there are many ski fields in Iran and snow skiing is a popular pastime.
Below are details of sports, sporting events and sports people related to Iran.
Popular sports of Iran
- Football (Soccer), freestyle wrestling, futsal, skiing, martial arts, kabaddi
Iran Traditional or Regional Sports
- Varzesh-e pahlvani or Varzesh-e Bastani — a traditional Iranian martial arts. The sport is practiced in a gymnasium called Zourkhaneh, which is another name by which the sport is known.
Iran's Sporting Success
Great athletes from Iran
- Hossein Rezazadeh (weightlifting)
- Behdad Salimi (weightlifting)
Iran Sports trivia
- Iranian athletes first participated in the Summer Olympic Games in 1948, and the Winter Games in 1956.
- Iran is believed to be the birthplace of the sport of polo
- Tennis Champion Andre Agassi's father Emmanuel "Mike" Agassi represented Iran in boxing at the 1948 and 1952 Games before immigrating to the United States.
Iran at major events
- Iran at the Summer Olympics
- Iran at the Winter Olympics
- Iran at the FIFA World Cup
- Iran at the AFC Asian Cup
Past sporting events hosted in Iran
- Women’s Islamic Games, 1993, 1997, 2001, 2005.
- Asian Games (1974)
Upcoming sporting events in Iran
Annual sporting events held in Iran
Sporting Facilities in Iran
- Azadi Stadium (Tehran, Iran)
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