Tehran, 28 September 2005 -- "The twelve-member American Frisbee team could not obtain visas to enter Iran from Istanbul," said Sarah Hillyer, coach of the American team in the 4th Islamic Women Games, who is an active member of Global Sports Partners; a Cyprus-based company dedicated to development of sports in 40 nations, including North Africa, Middle East, and North Korea.
The Global Sports Partners is specifically engaged in helping women to obtain their objectives in the realm of sports. The activities of the company cover a vast range of sport disciplines, even sports medicine, massage therapy, and sports psychology.
The company had previously announced the participation of the American delegation in the games with a Frisbee team but there is no sign of their presence yet.
"The team flew to Istanbul from the US but could not obtain visas from the Iranian embassy there," she indicates, "this is while we had also ordered 700 Frisbees to hand them out to every single member of all delegations to introduce the sport to the participants in the 4th Women Islamic Games. We have also a basketball team competing in the games."
Furthermore, Steve DeVOSS, the president of Global Sports Partners, who was supposed to be the representative of non-Islamic countries in the 4th Women Islamic Games, could neither get a visa. This is despite the fact that the company has cooperated with the Islamic federation for women sports since 1999 and was active in Iran with introducing softball in cities such as Mashad, Isfahan, Tehran, establishing a massage-therapy clinic, and holding lectures on sport psychology.
"We have a great relationship with the Islamic federation of women sport and Mrs. Faezeh Hashemi," Hillyer asserted.
It is the 6th visit of Hillyer to Iran which she considers her "very favorite country".
"Iranians are so kind, hospitable, and eager to make friendship to tear down the misconceptions between our countries," she explains.
"The country's history is very rich and the Biblical history of the region and power of Persia during the ancient biblical period means so much to me as a Christian," she asserted.
Replying to a question about whether Hijab can be considered as an obstacle against attracting foreign tourists, she said, "I don't think so. I believe we all should respect the culture we enter to. I have never had any problems regarding the issue". As a member of Global Sports Partners, she has been to Oman, Morocco, United Arab Emirates, and Tunisia and believes that the Muslim world can be categorized into two sections of Arab culture and Persian culture which is so rich.
Quoting Faezeh Hashemi on the goal of the games, "celebrating the Muslim women in sports, educating them about sports and importance of health and well-being," Sarah Hillyer believes that Hashemi has done a wonderful job in holding the scientific sports congress' and the competitions which are good opportunities for Muslim women to enjoy the sport practices internationally.
According to her, the Women Islamic Games has been successful in achieving its objectives and providing a great venue for Muslim women to celebrate self-expression and develop self-confidence.
Commenting on Tehran and Iranian tourist circumstances, she indicates, "Tehran is a modern and busy city and has several interesting museums. Also I love Iranian cuisine and I always gain weight when I spend some time in Iran. I buy so many handicrafts and pistachio every time I visit here."
... Payvand News - 10/1/05 ... --