Iran: Freestyle wrestlers in World Cup win

Athletes from the Iran and US team during a match in the Freestyle Wrestling World Cup in Los Angeles Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption An Iranian freestyle wrestler (in red) takes on a US athlete

Iran has won the Freestyle Wrestling World Cup, after defeating the Russian team 4-2, it's been reported.

President Hassan Rouhani sent a message of congratulations to the team and the result made headlines across Iran. The conservative Vatan-e Emruz newspaper praised the squad's "heroic flexibility", while state broadcaster IRTV1 said: "With Iran becoming freestyle wrestling champion, Iranian national anthem is played in the American soil and Iranian national flag surpasses Russian and American flags."

Iranian wrestlers progressed to the finals after beating Armenia, Turkey, India and the US at a competition hosted in California, cheered on by a lively crowd of Iranian Americans. The Iranian team was ranked as the top squad at the end of the 2013 championship, Press TV reports.

US wrestling director Rich Bender praised the athletes for putting politics aside during the competition. "I think it's a true testament to our relationship with the Iranian [wrestling] federation, and the fact that wrestling is popular all over the world," he told Voice of America.

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