Iranian gymnasts relish first-time participation at Acro Worlds01/04/2016
It's not about medals for Iran's Sasan Abbasi and Ahad Mohammadi. No matter where they rank at this week's Acrobatic Gymnastics World Championships in Putian (CHN), the experience of competing at all is as valuable as any shiny souvenir.
Sasan Abbasi and Ahad Mohammadi (IRI)
Gymnasts from Iran have never before competed at a World Championships in Acrobatic Gymnastics. That makes Abbasi and Mohammadi’s presence a page in Iranian history, regardless of the result.
"It's a beautiful sport," commented Mohammadi, looking around the gym with appreciation during podium training at the Putian Sports Complex earlier this week. The physical education student, 20, grew up doing Artistic Gymnastics. Five years ago, he caught a bit of Acro on TV. "And I said, 'This is for me!' So I decided to quit Artistic and do Acrobatic."
Iran's presence in Putian has not gone unnoticed. The delegation received a round of applause during roll call at a meeting earlier this week, and both gymnasts have benefitted from the friendly international atmosphere in the gym, as well as the expertise of FIG Technical Committee member Yuri Goliak and Aigul Biyekenova, President of the Asian Gymnastics Union's Acrobatic Technical Committee.
"I have learned a lot here from the other gymnasts," Mohammadi said. "And their coaches have even given me some advice. In the future I will be 100 percent better than I am now."
Gymnastics is not the number one sport in Iran, though Acro is practiced in 12 cities, according to Rachman Golzar, who coaches the men’s pair. Sponsors paid their voyage from their northern city of Ourmia, near the Turkish and Azerbaijani borders, to seaside Putian. And though the country has been largely absent from World Championship competition in Gymnastics for the past several years, Golzar, for his part, is hopeful that Putian is the beginning of something bigger.
"This is our first time here. We don't expect any medals anything else," Golzar said. "We are coming to see the championships, to participate, to see all the teams and say hello to all. We are coming here for the future, and to be better than we are right now."
|01/04/2016 03/04/2016||25th Acrobatic Gymnastics World Championships 2016||PUTIAN CITY (CHN)||ACRO|