Farnaz Esmaelzadeh has been winning medals for Iran for many years. She started rock-climbing when she was 13 and she has been in the national team for 12 years.
“No-one trained me. I made progress by watching films, studying (on my own), and hard training”, she said.
“When you compete under the name of the National Team, you are actually a professional athlete who makes a living in this way. It does not work out that way in our sports. I am a member of the National Team and I have never been paid”, Ms. Esmaelzadeh added.
Even as a trainer, she does not receive any salary. She participated in Canada’s tournaments with the National Team, and won a silver medal, and yet she had to pay her own travel expenses.
She went on saying, “I have no sponsor to support me. It is much easier for men to find a sponsor. All the men in the National Team have sponsors but nobody sponsors me because of the kind of covering we (women) have.
“In the gym, most of the hours are for men. The walls that exist everywhere, also exit in open space and in light of security problems, they do not allow women to work out in open areas.”
On the upcoming world competitions, Ms. Esmailzadeh said, “With only three weeks left before the world competitions, if I cannot find a sponsor I would not be able to participate.”
(State-run Iran wire – April 14, 2016)