Thursday, December 2, 2010

Medals for Iranian Women

Iran has pioneered a campaign for the promotion of Muslim women's sports activities at the national and global levels.  During the early years after the Islamic Revolution there were many obstacles created for women's sports. Conservative religious circles insisted that sports were not appropriate for women, particularly in the public sphere. Religious leaders however, like Imam Khomeini were not all against the involvement of women in sport competitions, particularly if the symbols of modesty in dress were applied. During the first decade, sport activities at the popular level were promoted for women in Iran, but very little was reflected in the media and practically nothing was done at the championship level. During the second decade and through the efforts of women like Faezeh Hashemi, who became a Parliamentarian later and who led a major nationwide campaign for women's rights to sport activities, women's sports new gradually found way into the local media and championship activities also began . She also spearheaded a campaign for sports  for Muslim women worldwide.
 Iranian women took this new opportunity for granted and following the efforts made during all these years they took great strides in the recent Asian Games in China. Iranian women represented 25% of Iran’s 373 member national team for the Asian games and these woman Athletes won close to 25% of Iran’s medal count.
Iranian women received 19 medals in Wushu, Shooting, Taekwondo, Kabaddi, Karate, and Rowing.

The real number one spot for the games goes to Chinese women who represented 47.5% of the China’s 960 member team for the Asian games and these women won close to 56% (or 221) of China’s medal count, more medals than any national team from any country.

Promoting modesty and the Islamic covering, Iranian women may ,have set an example for other Muslim countries. At the national level however many believe that Iranian women could have done much better if they were given more chances and if conservatives and extremists had not imposed their distorted version of the Religion, in many dimensions of contemporary life in Iran.

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