Iran’s Heidari named Intl. Pahlavani Wrestling Federation president
Retired Iranian wrestler Alireza Heidari has been named the president of the International Pahlavani Wrestling Federation, which came into existence earlier this year as the governing body of the sport.
The 40-year-old favorite of the Islamic Republic of Iran Wrestling Federation (IRIWF) obtained the highest number of votes during a voting session on the sidelines of the first edition of Pahlavani Wrestling World Championship in the Belarusian capital city of Minsk on Friday evening.
“Even though Palhavani wrestling historically goes back to ancient Persia, it is of enormous global potential since it employs freestyle and Gregorian techniques. I hope to be successful in the promotion of the sport worldwide and its inclusion in the Olympics,” Heidari said following his election.
He added, “I congratulate the IRIWF, Iran’s wrestling fans and all Iranians on such an appointment, and hope to produce favorable results during my term in office.”
Heidari won the bronze medal of men’s freestyle 96-kilogram category at the 2004 Summer Olympic Games in Athens, Greece. He is also celebrated as a seven-time Asian champion, and has received a gold medal, three silver medals and a bronze medal at World Championships.
The Board of Directors at the International Pahlavani Wrestling Federation consists of Chairman of the Wrestling African Union Fouad Maskot, Head of the Pan-American Wrestling Council Francisco Eduardo Lee Lopez, President of the Oceania Wrestling Federation John Tarkong Jr., President of the Brazilian Confederation of Wrestling and Bureau Member of United World Wrestling Pedro Gama Filho, Georgian wrestler Eldar Kurtanidze and female United World Wrestling referee Edith Docsa of Italy.
Pahlavani wrestling combines martial arts and wrestling techniques, calisthenics, strength training and epic music.
The two competitors try to take control over each other by throwing the opposite combatant back on his shoulder.
The wrestler is allowed to grab his opponent’s pants or belt as a grip. He can also use his or own legs to off-balance a rival, hence causing him to fall to the ground.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has recognized Pahlavani wrestling as among the world’s longest-running forms of sport.