Interview with Secretary of Sport Oral History Policy Council of Iran;

Setting up Oral History Department at National Olympic Academy

Maryam Asadi Jafari
Translated by: Fazel Shirzad


Note: Referring to the readiness of library, the Center for Documentation and Oral History of National Olympic Academy, to support interviewers of sports oral history projects in documentation, Shahrzad Kordbacheh, secretary of Sport Oral History's Policy Council of Iran, said: "The oral history department will soon be set up at the Library and Center for Documentation Oral History of National Olympic Academy to bring together experts of oral history and physical education. Workshops on oral history and researcher training are also being hold in this way. "

According to Iranian Oral History website, the common memories of a nation are not limited to political events. Sometimes, social and cultural events, especially sport events, are reminiscent of the best days for the people. The match between Iran-Australia in the 1998 World Cup, Hussein Rezazadeh as a recorder holder at Athens Olympics in 2004, the first women's taekwondo medal won by Kimia Alizadeh in 2016, and the memories of sports stars such as Gholamreza Takhti, Ahmad Reza Abedzadeh and the late Nasser Hejazi are few examples of brightness of Iranian sport history. Along with these famous names, the field of sport has become a bed for political and social activities in contemporary history of Iran, and the scope of Iran's sports history has now reached the level that is important to be recorded.

Having gathered a group of experts in the field of history and oral history, National Olympic Committee has started several projects in the field of oral history of sports in Iran a long time. That is why, we have talked about this activity with Shahrzad Kordbacheh, secretary of Sport Oral History Policy Council of Iran.


* Is Sport Oral History's Policy Council of Iran set up in accordance with the resolution of the Cabinet in the field of executive agencies’ oral history, or do you feel a need to record memories of National Olympic Committee?

Yes. The council is set up under the authority of the Cabinet. Of course since four or five years ago, the subject of Sport Oral History in Iran was reviewed by the Ministry of Sports and Youth. As sport, which is a global phenomenon, the oral history is a great important issue; for this reason, National Olympic Committee has taken action in this regard.


* What sports fields do you take it into consideration for recording oral history? Do you want to work on Olympics sports or do you pay attention to all sports? How do take your priorities?

Our prioritization is stated in summons. The first axis was researcher, activists and commentators such as managers, athletes, and Olympians. The second part of the work is focused on sports events. The third part is sports places; these three axes are the priorities of the council. Currently, four research projects have been approved by the Oral History Council of Iran's Sports Council. such as "Sport Oral History of Iranian Women", "Oral History of Iranian Football", "Oral History of Iranian wrestling"  and " Oral History of Iranian Sport Press"


* So, are you going to do subject-centered projects?

Yes. They are based on the three main axes, we approved four of these projects. After completing these four projects, we plan to approve at least 10 projects else and make progress. We will do our best to finish projects Sport Oral History of Iranian Women", "Oral History of Iranian Football", "Oral History of Iranian wrestling" and" Oral History of Iranian Sport Press".


* In the previous part, you mentioned sports activists. Are the late Gholamreza Takhti and Nasser Hejazi members of the activists?

Yes. Among the activists, there are special people like the late Takhti.


* A book titled "the Oral History of Tehran Football Coaches" has already been published. Now, it's possible that some books have been published somehow about every sport. Do you use scholars of these books to complete your projects?

We are going to use experts and commentators in the field of oral history and authors of such books. The great important thing to us is that oral history is not merely a memoir or a simple interview. Hidden and unmentioned angles should be explored and challenged. So, we will surely use these people. In this regard, we have tried to establish workshops based on the presence of experts, trainers and experts in oral history and physical education of women's sports and army sports. The workshops was hold to raise the level of knowledge and education of researcher in the field of sport oral history, at three levels of primary, intermediate and advanced. Interested people can also participate in these workshops.


*Do you start to record sports oral history since before Islamic revolution or the establishment of any federation? Explain the timeframe for this project?

The field of oral history should be such that we have access to live evidence. We work on live evidence, but you should keep in mind that live evidence may not be available; therefore we use second-hand resources for pre-revolutionary. Of course, we also refer to existing documents, but as much as possible, we use live evidence. Of course, we also refer to available documents, but we use live evidence as much as possible.


* What schemes have you taken to record the memoirs of pioneers in the past?

People who have been involved with sports pioneers will being asked to answer questions from scholars. If such people are not available, we will use second-handed evidence.


*Are you going to pay just attention on developments of sport or socio-political events that happen to athletes over time?

Basically, we think only of sport oral history. When we talk about women's sports federation, we cannot ignore the actions of Ms. Faezeh Hashemi's. Though he is known as a political face, he has done several actions for international women's sports. Muslim women were able to attend in sport assemblies with Islamic cover. The presence of women in international assemblies was followed up by him.


* You mean, you talk with characters without any political tendency. Interviewer needs to study the documents for pre-interview preparation. Is this infrastructure available to the researcher?

Yes. Documents are available at the Library, Documentation Center and Oral History of National Olympic Academy as needed. We will do various things for Sport Oral History Project of Iran. Oral History Department will soon be set up at the Library, Center for Documentation and Oral History of National Olympic Academy.


* The record of sport oral history is not one of those subjects limited to a specific time period; so, it needs a constant job. Because the history of sports is constantly dynamic. Do not you intend to activate in federations of Oral History Office?

By creating Oral History Department at Documentation Center, we plan to bring together experts in the field of oral history and physical education. Workshops on oral history and researcher training are also being hold in the same way.


* Do you have any plans for video recording of interviews?

Yes. We have technical sections for interviews and media professionals are working with us. We hope that after recording the interviews, we will have a film production, and even we plan to prepare a studio in the future.


* What is your expectation of recording Iranian sport oral history? What do you want to achieve at the end and what do you think about its effect on the future of Iranian sports and athletes?

The record of events and facts that has occurred in the past in the field of sport is very important. The effect and importance of sports and the recognition of sport's elders for the awareness of the younger generation towards ancestors is a responsible of oral history that we hope it leads to positive changes in Iranian sport.


* One of the important goals of the Cabinet in resolution of executive agencies’ oral history is to transfer the experience of managers and employees to avoid repeating past mistakes. We also have weaknesses and errors, in the field of sports management, perhaps they are repetitive errors. Do you think that it will also be effective in improving sports management?

Yes, absolutely.


* Some federations, such as golf and hockey, can be said, are young and new. Do you intend to start recording oral history since the foundation of federations, so that you won't be encountered with accumulation of information later?

The duty of Sport Oral History Policy Council is not to revise or retain. Today, it is our duty to focus on three axes of research as I mentioned them at the beginning of interview.

Number of Visits: 356


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