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Iraq Establishes Country's First Women's Wrestling Club

DIWANIYAH, Iraq (RFE/RL) -- Iraq's first-ever women's wrestling club has been established in the predominantly tribal city of Diwaniyah, RFE/RL's Radio Free Iraq (RFI) reports.

Club Director Ahmad al-Hamadani told RFI that 16 women joined the club after it was launched in Diwaniyah, the capital of the southern province of Al-Qadisiyah.

Al-Hamadani said the club was established on a recommendation by the Arab Wrestling Federation that women wrestling teams be set up within national sporting organizations to help overcome social barriers in conservative communities.

Sisters Farah and Nuha Hussein, students at the provincial college of physical education, told RFI they joined the club because they want to represent Iraq at international tournaments.

They said the club has proved to be a success despite initial criticism that resulted from traditional Islamic customs.