ID : N-1866 Date : 2018/05/29 - 13:31
(Persia Digest) – Iranian woman futsal player, Sara Shirbegi, is now the top scorer of AFC Futsal Championships. She says: “After winning the women’s AFC Futsal Championships, it is now clear to everyone that the more women’s sports are supported the better the results will be and women can create marvels in international games.”
In an interview with Persia Digest, Sara Shirbegi spoke about women’s sports in Iran: “Things are better now. We were the reigning champions and the only team to win the games two consecutive times after two and a half years of practices. We received a better feedback from society this time under better circumstances – something we didn’t really have before. No one knew the women’s futsal team before. But after our win, I can see many young girls trying to join futsal. It was especially important for us in Asia to say that Iranian women can win sports games wearing the hijab. Many people believed that Iranian women are unable to succeed in sports and it is difficult for us. But views changed after we became the champions.”
She continued by talking about sponsorship and support of women’s futsal, saying: “All the organizations have supported us in words at least; we hope words will be put into action. The Ministry of sports has already given us more support over the past few months and I don’t think they will take it back now. Of course, we are taking a break during the month of Ramadan after over two years of practices. But, we will see after we start work again from next month.”
Shirbegi is currently in her birth city of Kermanshah, western Iran. About women’s sports outside the capital, she says: “We have many good athletes in other towns; but it is not very easy to have teams and sponsors. In Kermanshah, for instance, we have good players and coaches for women’s futsal, but no teams and sponsors. We get no support to form teams. Evers since we returned from the AFC games, only one of the directors of the provincial futsal congratulated us. There were other people in West Islamabad, where I live, who did welcome us. But none of the Kermanshah Province officials have said anything yet.”
“The lack of support really impacts women’s sports in smaller cities and puts off young people. There are many women athletes who have been put off for the same reason. But the women futsal players in Kermanshah play an important part in all the teams. They are among the best players in every team,” she said.
I asked her how important it is for women to be allowed into stadiums to improve sports for them. She answers: “Very important. We live in this society, the same as men. We have to be allowed into stadiums. It is our right to watch the games in stadiums, not just on TV. Some things have been said about women being present in stadiums. I hope it’s not just talk and that action will be taken to support women’s sports to get better results.”