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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) fireworks. 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
"US-Iran Friendship Tour - US - Iran Table Tennis Friendship Tour"