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Traditional Iranian sport

  • One of the most popular sports in Iran is soccer, called football by Iranians. Soccer is played throughout the country. At the international level, Iran qualified for the World Cup in 1998 and again in 2005 for the 2006 World Cup). Several Iranians soccer players play in European and American teams. World Cup Soccer
Asian Games
  • Iran participated in the Asian Games Doha 2006 - in athletics, badminton, basketball, bodybuilding, boxing, canoe/kayak, chess, cycling, equestrian, football, fencing, gymnastics, handball, judo, kabaddi, karate, rowing, sepaktakraw, shooting, swimming, taekwondo, volleyball, weightlifting, water polo, wrestling, and wushu.

  • Next popular sport is wrestling. Iranians compete internationally at Olympic Games and they have won medals. (Iran is not expected to contend for a medal in Torino, Italy in the 2006 Winter Olympics).

  • Below is a picture of Zurkhaneh which means "house of power "and shows the most ancient sport of Iran. For thousand years, Iraninan men joined zurkhaneh for strength and to be closer to God. The Zurkhaneh itself is an octagonal pit about 1m deep with a floor of clay soil in which athletes train for the Iranian national sport, called Varzesh-e Pahlavani or Varzesh-e Bastani. Pahlavani is a traditional Martial art and a style of Wrestling that originated in Iran. The game of Pahlevan changes to keep pace with the sound of a drum played by the morshed or guide, who is typically seated in an elevated position within the hall.

Traditional Iranian sport
Traditional Iranian sport in Zurkhaneh

  • Zurkhaneh is not like a gym you can walk in and sign in. One must watch and wait at least for a month before he decides to try and join. The leader chants verses of Shahnemeh (or Book of Kings) while participants do their work out.

Traditional Iranian sport
Training with clubs in a Zurkhaneh.

  • In Isfahan, the Imam Khomeini Square was used for polo matches. The stone goal posts can still be seen at either end of the square. From Aliqapu Palace balcony, the Shah and his court watched the polo matches.

  • Karaj about 42 Km west of Tehran until recently was a popular place for watersport (water ski). Presently, this sport is not allowed on Karaj Dam because of environmental preservation.

  • To the east of Tehran, there is Mount Damavand (5,671 m or 18,714 feet) which provides mountain climbing, walking/hiking and skiing

  • To the North of Tehran, there is Mount Tochal (3,933 m or 12,979 feet) which also provides mountain climbing and hiking. Tochal telecabin (chair lift) is available which takes you to the top in about half an hour. Other hiking trails are from Darband (first you go to Sarband). You can take chair lift from here to the top of the hills or hike up. From Jamshidieh park , you can hike up to Kolak Chal which is about 10,000 feet elevation.

Auto racing in Iran