Is the Ironman Triathlon Becoming a Sport for Dictators?

December 4, 2015

By Peter Bogdanich

December 4, 2015

This Saturday, the U.S. triathlon promoter Ironman will hold its first competition in the Middle East. But by choosing Bahrain as its host, Ironman is teaming up with a royal family that has arrested top athletes and thousands of others who called for political reforms.

Bahrain_map_-_2 (1)Ironman’s half-marathon “Middle East Championship” is set for December 5th in Bahrain, an island monarchy located off the coast of Saudi Arabia in the Persian Gulf. The local partner for the event, Sheikh Nasser bin Hamad al-Khalifa, is a prince who stands accused of calling for and overseeing the arrest of major Bahraini athletes who participated in demonstrations for democracy and reform.

In February of 2011, thousands of Bahrainis took to the streets of the capital city to call for democratic reforms in largely peaceful protests. Security forces responded with tanks, tear gas, and live ammunition. Dozens of peaceful protesters were killed, and thousands were subjected to arbitrary arrest.


2011 Bahrain protests. Photo by Lewa’a Alnasr.

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Turkish Foreign Minister calls Gaza an “open prison”

September 30, 2010

Speaking at Harvard on Tuesday, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu called Gaza an “open prison” and stated, “Enough is enough.”

The criticism of Israel’s blockade on Gaza came during a q&a session following the Turkish official’s speech at the Harvard Kennedy School. Freedom Forward thanked Mr. Davutoğlu for his government’s support of humanitarian aid activists who challenged Israel’s blockade by sea.

During the q&a session, Freedom Forward asked what future Turkish foreign policy would be regarding Gaza.  Mr. Davutoğlu’s response was blunt and to the point:

Today in Gaza, 1.5 million people are living in an open prison. I saw the bodies of children from Gaza after the attacks of Israel in December 2008, using phosphoric bombs [in] a place where people are living in a concentrated manner and you are attacking from the air. It is unacceptable. We can not be silent to this tragedy.

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April 19, 2010

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Research Fellowships / Pakistan Voices Project

February 11, 2010

Project start: March 2010



Freedom Forward is considering applications for a limited number of volunteer research fellowships.  Research Fellows will support the Pakistan Voices Project, a series of focus groups involving Pakistani and Pakistani American communities in the US.

The Pakistan Voices Project will result in a nationally released report that will inform the broader American debate on US foreign-policy towards Pakistan.  Research Fellows shall make a minimum commitment of 10 hours to the project, though larger commitments offer the opportunity of more in-depth work.   Research Fellows shall be credited in the final published report.
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Join Freedom Forward on Twitter!

October 14, 2009

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