After several weeks of uncertainty, Iran’s Kianoush Rostami — a 2016 Olympic Champion, 2012 Olympic silver medalist, and 2016’s IWF Male Lifter of the Year — has received his visa to compete at the 2017 Weightlifting World Championships.
In early November, it was reported that Rostami’s initial application for a visa had been denied by the US Department of State. Other Iranian athletes set to compete were approved for visas at that time.
On November 26th, USA Weightlifting CEO Phil Andrews announced via Facebook that Rostami, age 26, and the rest of Team Islamic Republic of Iran have their visas in hand and are traveling to compete in the 2017 WWC. Andrews and USA Weightlifting staff were in regular communication with Department of State officials to help facilitate visa applications, including Rostami’s. Talking with BarBend after the announcement, Andrews also emphasized the US Olympic Committee’s key role in helping Rostami and other secure visas in time to compete.
This year’s Championships start run from November 28th through December 6th in Anaheim, California. Andrews told BarBend he’s delighted to have Iran — one of the world’s top weightlifting countries — competing this year.
This is the second consecutive IWF World Championships to be held on American soil; the event was held in Houston in 2015, and there was no World Championships in 2016 due to the Rio Olympics.
Rostami is a clear favorite heading into the competition. He’s the World Record holder in the clean & jerk (220kg) and total (396kg). The men’s 85kg A session kicks off Sunday, December 2nd, at 12pm PST.
Rostami is known for training alone. Earlier this year, Rostami was removed from Iran’s national squad after missing team training sessions. He has since been reinstated with the team.
Rostami also made headlines earlier this month after he pledged to auction his Olympic gold medal to benefit earthquake victims in Iran.
Featured image: @kianoush_rostami on Instagram
November 26th: This article has been updated to reflect additional insights and quotes from USA Weightlifting CEO Phil Andrews.