Despite the severe and extreme vetting measures imposed by Donald Trump on travelers from Muslim nations, U.S.A. Wrestling said the United States will compete next month in Iran as originally planned. Iran represents one of seven Muslim-majority countries where an outright ban on entry to the US has been imposed for a period of 90 days, following the signing of an executive order on Sunday.
U.S.A. Wrestling’s executive director, Rich Bender, indicated on Monday that the US team still has “every intention” of attending the men’s freestyle World Cup on Feb. 16-17, which is set to take place in Kermanshah. He also stated that the Iranian government had issues a number of assurances regarding the applications of the athletes being given “special attention”.
“Wrestling has shown a long, rich history of transcending politics and participating despite governmental disagreements,” Bender said.
“That’s the beauty of sport and the Olympic movement. It’s about competition, not politics.”
The trip could prove to be hugely significant in political stakes, serving as the first time Trump’s travel ban will directly impact the movements of a United States sports team since going into effect.
In addition, the United States Olympic Committee said it had received assurances from government officials that the travel ban would not affect a World Cup archery event scheduled for Las Vegas on Feb. 10, or other international competitions.
Despite his awareness of the current difficulties facing travellers, Bender insists that he and his team will go ahead with the scheduled trip.
“We read the paper, too,” Bender said.
“We see what’s being said, and certainly we’re very interested to see how this may complicate an already complicated process, but we’re optimistic that once again wrestling will be able to transcend politics.”