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Iran allows women weightlifters to compete in international contests

In the Summer Olympics of 2016, Iran saw only 9 women compete [Getty]

Date of publication: 26 November, 2017

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Women weightlifters from Iran will be allowed to compete internationally for the first time, the president of the country’s weightlifting federation said on Thursday.
Iranian women weightlifters will be allowed to take part in international competitions for the first time, the weightlifting federation announced on Thursday. 

A women's committee has been established under Iran Weightlifting Federation to back "talented female athletes", the organisation said.

"They have high capacity like men athletes, and I hope that, wearing special clothes for Muslim athletes, they will be able to take part in international championships in the near future," Ali Moradi, president of the federation said.

Women worldwide were barred from taking part in weightlifting until a change in rules in 1987. However, Iran, along with Saudi Arabia, had since upheld the ban.

The move to now allow women to compete has been applauded both internationally and inside Iran.

"This is good news, and it’s very significant in Iran, where weightlifting is at the highest level for men, and zero level for women," said Attila Adamfi, director general of the International Weightlifting Federation.

The country enjoys a strong weightlifting culture and has previously seen some of its men weightlifters return home with Olympic gold medals.

However, female athletes may still face severe punishment if they do not follow strict Islamic rules during sports competitions. This includes wearing the traditional Islamic headscarf.

Women are also banned from contests where a male referee may come into physical contact with them.

In the Summer Olympics of 2016, Iran saw only 9 women compete, while 54 men took part in the Games.

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