Danish wrestlers visit the Middle East
In a week, on February 26th, the Danish national wrestling team, embark on an adventure that will not only sharpen their wrestling skills and hopefully secure medals at the World Wrestling Championships in Denmark this year, but also make new friends in a region where wrestling is a massive sport and the competition is very tight.
- “Here in the Danish Wrestling Federation we are looking very much forward to the trip. The Iranian wrestling team is very, very strong. So it’s in our interest and a great opportunity for our wrestlers to compete and train with them in their preparation for the World Championships here in Denmark later in the year,” says Mads Bang Aaen, Press Manager in the Danish Wrestling Federation.
The reason for doing the trip is primarily a sporting one in preparation for the upcoming World Championships – there is no better competition or sparring partners anywhere in the world. But the trip also has a seconday goal.
- “The trip is a great opportunity to tie a closer relationship between our two different cultures. Sport is generally a marvellous icebreaker, and we believe that our common passion for wrestling will make it possible,” says Mads Bang Aaen, Press Manager in the Danish Wrestling Federation.
Sports are also about enjoying yourself
The trip to the Middle East is funded by the Danish Year of Sport 2009, a government backed project with the intention of branding Denmark internationally as a strong sport event nation under the motto “Inviting the World of Sport.
- “The interest for sports is something that really connects people between cultures, and give us something to talk about when we meet each other for the first time. Therefore I have great expectations to the outcome of the unique Friendship Project and the many initiatives that the Wrestling Federation has initiated in relation to the project,” says Christian Ankerstjerne, Project manager of the Danish Year of Sport 2009.
Among the initiatives is a special VIP and dining area and specially prepared food for Middle Eastern athletes during the World Championships in Herning later in the year. This because the first days of the competitions are taking place during the final days of the Ramadan.
- “The Friendship Project says a lot about the way, we go about things in Denmark. Wrestling may not by any means be the most popular sport in Denmark, but in Iran it’s enormously popular, so it’s a good way to meet and befriend people from another culture and become a better athlete at the same time. For us sport is not only about getting better all the time – it’s also about having fun and enjoying yourself in the process,” says Christian Ankerstjerne, Project manager of the Danish Year of Sport 2009.