BOCAUE — Iran bowed out in the group stages of the women’s tournament in the 2018 Fiba 3x3 World Cup, but these ladies are undoubtedly winners.
They are history-makers.
The team, made up of Kimiya Yazdian Tehrani, Saiedeh Elli, Masoumeh Esmaeilzadeh Soudjani, and Mozhgan Khodadadi, came to Manila with meager expectations.
They wound up becoming the first team featuring players wearing hijab to record a victory in the 3x3 circuit.
“We are so excited because this is our first time in the World Cup, and we’re so happy that we got our first win in 3x3,” said Elli.
Iran suffered losses against United States, Russia and Uganda in Pool C, but ended its campaign on a high note with a 21-12 stunner over Andorra on Monday.
The win felt like gold for these Iranian ladies as they looked at it as a breakthrough after Fiba overturned a ban on headgear like hijab and yarmulkes back in May 2017.
That decision paved the way for Iran to field a women’s 3x3 team for the first time in 40 years, first playing in the 2018 Fiba 3x3 Asia Cup in Shenzhen, and eventually, in the World Cup.
“It's a great experience to play in this level of basketball. I'm hoping that every year we can play in this kind of basketball,” said Yazdian Tehrani.
Now the Iranians hope this quest will be a rallying point for the powers-that-be back home to sustain its support of the women’s 3x3 program.
“We need this win to show the government back home to continue their support for us,” said head coach Nika Nikbikli.