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FILA's Iranian official refuses to attend wrestling championship in US

Tehran, March 2, IRNA --- Iran Wrestling Federation (IWF) said here Saturday that Iranian Deputy Head of International Wrestling Federation (FILA) Mohammad Tavakol will not go to US to attend the 2003 World Freestyle Wrestling Championship as FILA's representative.

In a telephone conversation with the Head of FILA, Rafi Martini, Tavakol, also a member of FILA board of Directors said due to the current US customs formalities which requires fingerprinting of Iranians visiting the US, he will not attend the competitions.

He also asked Martini to appoint another person to attend the competitions, which was agreed.

In February, Head of Iran Wrestling Federation Mohammad Reza Taleqani said that if the US government insists on fingerprinting the Iranian Free style National Team upon their arrival in the US, "then the team will not be sent to take part in 2003 World Freestyle Wrestling Championship."

He told IRNA that Iran Wrestling Federation, in a letter, called on FILA to expedite a response in order to clarify the situation of the Iranian team.

"If we are given the due respect then we have no qualms in sending the wrestling team to international tournaments," Taleqani said.

The team has been approved to be dispatched for 2003 World Free- Style Wrestling Championships in the US and "we have made it clear that Iran will not participate if athletes are to be fingerprinted."

Taleqani had said in January that the federation has decided to send Iranian freestyle wrestlers to the wrestling world cup in Boise, Idaho in April and the world championships at New York's Madison Square Garden in September 2003.

FILA has set the 2003 championships contests as precondition for attending in Olympic Games in 2004.

In the world championship in 2002, Iran took the bronze medal of the Asian freestyle wrestling tournament ended in Pusan, South Korea, in October.

With one gold, two silvers, and two bronzes, the Iranian wrestling team finished third while the host team of South Korea stole the coveted gold, winning three gold and one silver medals.

... Payvand News - 3/2/03 ... --

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