International sports enthusiasts may have enjoyed more than their usual fix with all of the coverage of last month’s winter Olympics. In particular, it seems the level of interest surrounding female figure skating queens Kim Yu-na and Mao Asada, (which I too am guilty of), is still gliding along full-force, and will likely accelerate again and soar to dizzying levels later this month at the World Figure Skating Championships in Torino, Italy.
I wonder then, how fans of top athleticism and women in sports may assess certain recent news out of Iran.
Late last week, the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) quoted Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad making some pretty stand-out comments regarding his country and sports. According to the country’s official news organization, its leader proclaimed that nuclear weapons are not needed in nations that have culture and civilization. And with a pretty noteworthy metaphor, he went onto say that Iran’s atomic bombs are in fact its ‘youth and athletic heroes.’
Thus, to ‘arm’ his country accordingly, Ahmadinejad has planned to increase his country’s sports budget by five times in the next year. ‘We must not only earn the Asian championships but also think about becoming world champions,’ he said.
I find this a bit strange, as women in Iran are not permitted to attend sports events. How does the nation plan, with its apparent new form of combat weaponry, to compete on the world stage with half of its people unable to participate in the forum?