Wrestle Like A Girl Leads Sports Diplomacy Exchange

Wrestle Like A Girl (WLAG) leads a delegation of 13 US Women’s Wrestling Advocates to Azerbaijan on a US State Department Sports Exchange themed, Empowering Girls and Women Through Wrestling. This exchange program is funded by the U.S. State Department Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs/Sports Diplomacy Division through the Sport for Social Change Grant. With the support of the US Embassy of Azerbaijan, the US delegation will visit Azerbaijani sports organizations throughout the country as they utilize the unique power of sport to explore how wrestling is used to empower girls and women in Azerbaijan.

“Sport connects us beyond language, ideologies, and borders,” said Tela O’Donnell Bacher, who leads Coaching Education for Wrestle Like A Girl. “This exchange will utilize the power of sport and cross-cultural collaboration to advance wrestling opportunities for women in the US and Azerbaijan.” She continues, “It often feels like there is much conflict in the world, but when we connect and celebrate the good that sports people and organizations do, we strengthen a positive future.”

The 10-day exchange will include American participants from Alaska, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Texas representing various organizations. The delegation will consist of Sally Roberts and Tela Bacher from Wrestle Like A Girl, National Wrestling Hall of Fame State Chapter Director Krista Graff, Nicole Tyson from Oklahoma City University, Cadence Dare from Oklahoma State University Cowgirls Wrestling Club, Tarkyia Mensah from Schreiner University, Poorna Babu from Texas Women’s University, Kristi Mann from Arkansas USA Wrestling, Chloe Ivanoff from Alaska Girls Wrestle and Kodiak Wrestling, Robyn Chaney from Dillingham Wolverine Wrestling, and Ed Lester from Newhalen School. Two additional Americans, Joy and Dan Russell, from Wrestlers for Peace, who currently live and advocate for women’s wrestling in Jordan, will join the delegation.

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