On Friday, January 27th, President Donald Trump signed an executive order that, among other stipulations, suspends admissions for Syrian refugees and limits the flow of other refugees and entrants from certain countries into the United States.
Uncertainty over the order’s impact and future still remain, and several governing bodies in the sports world — detailed below — have issued statements in response.
Under the order, persons from seven countries are barred from entering the United States for the next 90 days, and the US Refugee Admissions Program is suspended for 120 days. The countries primarily impacted are Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Yemen, and Somalia. On Saturday, a federal judge in Brooklyn issued a stay that temporarily blocks part of the order.
In response to this executive order, Iran vowed to take reciprocal measures which include temporarily barring Americans from obtaining visas to enter their country. Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif has said any Americans who currently possess a valid Iranian visa will have it honored.
On Monday, USA Weightlifting posted an official statement on their website quoting CEO Phil Andrews. His quote appears below, in part referencing the 2017 World Weightlifting Championships scheduled to take place in California later this year:
“Our view is that politics and sport should be separate. Weightlifting provides an excellent opportunity to interact with our fellow nations from all parts of the planet in a peaceful and cooperative fashion.
At this time, we are still working out what impacts beyond the initial 90 day period that this issue may have, both on Iran’s participation in the World Championships in Anaheim, CA, and on our own team’s participation in the Fajr Cup in the Islamic Republic of Iran.
We sincerely hope to peacefully welcome these 7 nations to Anaheim this November. It is unimaginable to be able to host a true World event without their participation.”
In addition, the United States Olympic Committee issued a statement by Chairman Larry Probst and USOC CEO Scott Blackmun. From the body of the message:
“We have been specifically asked about the impact that the executive order could have on athletes and officials coming to the United States to compete. Recognizing the extraordinary power of international sport to bring people together in a peaceful celebration of friendship, excellence and respect, the U.S. government has today advised us that it will work with us to ensure that athletes and officials from all countries will have expedited access to the United States in order to participate in international athletic competitions.”
In the world of strength sports, Olympic Weightlifting specifically, there are at least two international events taking place this coming year where the executive order could impact competitors. In March, Iran will be hosting the 2nd International Fajr Cup, an International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) Grand Prix event where world records can be set.
In November, the 2017 World Weightlifting Championships are set to take place in Anaheim, California.
While March’s Fajr Cup is still over a month away, and the World Championships are toward the end of the calendar year, it’s still unclear what impact — if any — President Trump’s executive order could have on strength sport competition both in the United States and abroad.
In a move from another Olympic sport’s US governing body, USA Wrestling announced early this week that they still plan to send a team to Iran in two weeks to compete in a freestyle wrestling tournament.
Editor’s Note: BarBend is the Official Partner of USA Weightlifting and maintains full editorial independence.