Baseball seems to gain ground in Iran

Believe it or not but baseball is played in Iran. Thanks to countless efforts and lots of patience of Japanese Toma Irokawa, who has been manager of the Iran national team  and who has helped to develop the game in the Islamic Republic.

Who ever could believe that a game invented by the arch enemy of Iran would be played there? Now the sport will even grow more rapidly as the Iran Federation of Sport Associations, Iran’s Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, the Iranian National Olympic Committee, and the Iran Baseball and Softball Association and the WBSC agreed on a joint collaboration to expand and develop baseball and softball in Iran.

The first step of the program will be a focus on support and instruction (training, coaching, scoring, umpiring and venue construction), laying a foundation for the introduction and adoption of baseball and softball in school programmes in Iran, targeting participation among young people and women, and the establishment of new clubs for national championships.

Also part of the collaboration is the development of facilities that can meet the WBSC standards and that can serve as international training facilities. Furthermore Iran should be host to international events as well.

Right now a feasibility study is carried out to see if a baseball stadium can be build in the central Iranian city of Ishafan. In fact a baseball stadium has been built in Karaj, which is situated about 20 kilometers Nortwest of the capital Teheran, in 2010.

In recent years, players made their own bats and there was a shortage of first base mits and catchers mits for left handed players.

In a country where soccer and wrestling are king, only 500 persons are playing baseball. To be part of a team everyone has to pay $5.00 per month, so the cooperation with the aforementioned Iranian institutions can be a major development for the sport of baseball as the national soccer team gets millions per year by the powerful Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports.

Of 124 countries currently ranked by the WBSC, Iran is ranked 51st with 55 points, on point behind Switzerland and six points ahead of Poland.

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