Sports

Betting on bike racing: Keirin culture in Japan

Betting on bike racing: Keirin culture in Japan

28 Photos

From the photographer: Keirin is a form of cycle racing developed in Japan around 1948 for gambling purposes and has since become extremely popular. It is one of only four sports that patrons are allowed to bet on. In 1957 the Japanese Keirin Association was founded establishing a uniform system for the sport.

Today riders must complete study at the Japan Keirin School. For riders accepted to the school, they take on an extremely strict, 15-hour, six day-a-week training schedule, before being eligible to graduate as approved professional Keirin riders able to compete in Japan’s professional Keirin league. There are over 3,000 registered riders in Japan, and salaries for top riders can bring in as much as $2 million U.S., with average riders bringing about $100,000.

More →

In Iran, female motocross racer jumps barriers

In Iran, female motocross racer jumps barriers

22 Photos

Iranian motocross rider Behnaz Shafiei’s passion for hurdling over dirt hills has led her to leap cultural and legal barriers in Iran, where women are banned from riding motorcycles in public.

“When two days pass and I do not ride my motorcycle, I get really ill. Even the thought of not having a motorcycle someday gives me an awful feeling,” Shafiei said on the outskirts of Iran’s capital, Tehran. “Sometimes, I think to myself, ‘How did people in the past live without a motorbike?’ Is life without a motorcycle possible?”

It almost became a reality for 26-year-old. In Iran it remains illegal for women to ride motorcycles in public. Conservative clerics also denounce the idea of women attending men’s sporting events.
More →