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Iran Allows Women Weightlifters To Compete Internationally

Iranian weightlifter Behdad Salimi, during the Rio Olympics in 2016

Iran says it will allow women weightlifters to compete internationally for the first time.

Ali Moradi, president of the Iranian Weightlifting Federation, said on November 23"We have established the Iran Weightlifting Federation Women's Committee and we have talented female athletes."

"They have high capacity like men athletes, and I hope that, wearing special clothes for Muslim athletes, they will be able to take part in international championships in the near future."

Iran has one of the world's strongest weightlifting cultures and its men have won seven Olympic gold medals this century.

Attila Adamfi, director general of the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF), said: "This is good news, and it's very significant in Iran, where weightlifting is at the highest level for men, and zero level for women."

Women were barred from weightlifting until 1983. After a change to the IWF's rules, women began competing at the World Championships from 1987 and at the Olympic Games from 2000.

With reporting by Reuters