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US-Iran Friendship Tour - US - Iran Table Tennis Friendship Tour


									        U.S. - Iran                                                                                                                           ... there are more
      Table Tennis                                                                                                                           similarities between
                                                                                                                                             us than differences.

     Friendship Tour

      “One must respect other’s faith,                                                               ... they joined an old                                                     Photo Credits:

     culture, and lives. We have found                                                               fashioned Indepen-                                                         Diego Schaaf (lady player far left and
                                                                                                                                                                                male player right page bottom)
                                                                                                     dance Day celebra-                                                         Rob Trudell (player right page top)
              that in the U.S.”                                                                      tion and watched                                                           Steve Hopkins (seven photos from the
                                                                                                                                                                                July 4 Barbecue event)

  This summer, Iran’s table tennis team toured     competing in the US Open as well as participat-        In regard to results on the table— several of        The Iranians toured the U.S., interacted with
the U.S. and participated in a number of tourna-   ing in US-Iran exhibition matches just before        the players won cash awards in their Florida         Americans, participated and observed our culture
ments and exhibitions. The original idea was       the finals at the US Open.                           tournament, each participant in the US Open          and holiday, and competed against Americans and
discussed for many years between Sheri Pitman,                                                          advanced to the second round, and three of their     others in a sport we all love. Certainly it should
former USATT President, and Shahrokh Shahn-          While in Florida, the group took an airboat        players and a doubles team had strong runs in        be evident to all that there are more similarities
azi, President of the Iran Table Tennis Federa-    tour of the Everglades. On the Fourth of July,       the tournament.                                      between us than differences.
tion.                                              following a dinner with a barbecue theme, they
                                                   traveled to a small town outside of Las Vegas          Table tennis results were not the main reason        “One must respect other’s faith, culture, and
  With hard work from those two and many           where they joined an old fashioned Indepen-          for the tour, however. This was an event de-
others, the U.S. Iranian Table Tennis Friendship   dence Day celebration and watched fireworks.
                                                                                                                                                             lives. We have found that in the U.S.” Shah-
                                                                                                        signed to bring two peoples closer together— to
Tour was born. The Iranian team visited both       Before leaving Las Vegas, the team visited the                                                            rokh Shahnazi, President, Iran Table Tennis
                                                                                                        help bridge the political gap that current exists
Florida and Nevada; trained together; played in    Andre Agassi Boys and Girls Club and per-            between our two countries. In this regard, it was    Federation
the Southern Florida US Open Warm-up Tour-         formed exhibitions and provided lessons to the       hoped that it would mirror the success of the
nament; and ultimately finished their tour by      children at the club.                                Ping Pong Diplomacy tours of the 1970s.

32      USA TABLE TENNIS MAGAZINE • Sep/Oct 2008                                                                                                            USA TABLE TENNIS MAGAZINE • Sep/Oct 2008                33

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