Iranian women are to be given more opportunity through the rowing project, supported by the IOC ©NOCIRI

The National Olympic Committee of the Islamic Republic of Iran (NOCIRI) is to support women's rowing in the country, following the approval of Olympic Solidarity funding from the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

A coaching development programme is in the works, with the first coordination meeting taking place recently.

This proposal was sent to the IOC by the President of the Iranian Rowing Federation, Ali Reza Sohrabian, and was supported by the President of the NOCIRI, Seyed Reza Salehi Amiri.

It is to continue until December 2022 and will put focus on improving coaching and empowering more women to take up these positions in the sport.

Talent identification, coach training and regional rowing competitions are the three main areas that will be concentrated on.

The first phase started recently with nine trainers from eight provinces taking part in a six-day camp.

Solmaz Abbasi Azad, a United Kingdom-based lecturer, and Katayoun Ashraf, the vice-president of the Iranian Rowing Federation, are overseeing the project during its duration.

Women's sport in Iran is significantly at a disadvantage to men's sport, with females effectively banned from attending football matches in stadiums and competing in certain sports.

Kimia Alizadeh is the only woman to have won an Olympic medal for Iran ©Getty Images
Kimia Alizadeh is the only woman to have won an Olympic medal for Iran ©Getty Images

To date, only one Iranian woman has won an Olympic medal from the 76 won in the nation's history.

This was claimed by Kimia Alizadeh in the women's under-57 kilogram category in taekwondo in Rio.

She later defected to Germany in 2020, stressing the oppression of women in Iran as the reason for her decision.