Overview: Iran at the 2016 Rio Paralympics (Photos)

The XV Summer Paralympics were held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 2016. Iran sent a delegation of 111 athletes (23 women and 88 men)  that competed in 12 disciplines (Archery, Athletics, Canoe Sprint, Cycling Road, Football 5-a-side, Football 7-a-side, Judo, Powerlifting, Shooting, Sitting Volleyball, Swimming and Wheelchair Basketball).

Eshrat Kordestani, player of Iran women’s sitting volleyball team, was the delegation’s flag-bearer at the opening ceremony. Iran ranked 15th in Rio 2016, winning a total of 24 medals: 10 gold, 7 silver and 7 bronze. Sareh Javanmardi was the most succesful Iranian athlete in Rio 2016, winning two gold medals.

On September 17th, one day before the XV Summer Paralympics ended, the tragic death of Iranian cyclist Bahman Golbarnezhad shocked everyone. He had sustained severe injuries to his neck in a serious crash that had happened during men’s C4/C5 road race. After receiving emergency treatment at the scene, he suffered a cardiac arrest while being transported to hospital. He later passed away in intensive care.

Flags were lowered to half-mast across the Paralympic Village and a minute of silence was held in memory of Bahman Golbanezhad at the men’s sitting volleyball final, one of the last events of the Games. The Iranian flag was flown at half mast at the final, while the Iranian team dedicated their gold medal to the memory of Golbanezhad. A minute of silence was also held during the closing ceremony of the Rio Paralympic Games as a tribute to Golbanezhad.

Golbarnezhad was born and raised in Abadan, Iran. During the Iran-Iraq war, he relocated to Shiraz. In 1988, he lost his lower left leg when he walked on a land mine. Three years after his injury, he started his professional sporting career first as a wrestler, then he turned to powerlifting, winning twelve gold medals and one silver medal, according to the Iranian Veterans and Disabled Sports Federation. He stopped weightlifting due to a shoulder injury and started cycling in 2002, winning bronze in C4 at the 2010 Asian Para Games. He qualified for 2012 London Paralympics the same year that his wife died due to cancer. Golbarnezhad and his wife had one son.

MEDAL COUNT & NEW RECORDS SET BY IRANIAN ATHLETES
PR: Paralympic Record / WR: World Record / FPR: Final Paralympic Record
16px-Gold_medal_icon.svg Gold – Archery – Men’s Individual Recurve Open: Gholamreza Rahimi
16px-Gold_medal_icon.svg Gold – Archery – Women’s Individual Recurve Open: Zahra Nemati
16px-Gold_medal_icon.svg Gold – Athletics – Men’s Javelin Throw – F57: Mohammad Khalvandi – 46.12m WR
16px-Gold_medal_icon.svg Gold – Powerlifting – Men’s 80kg: Majid Farzin – 240kg PR & WR
16px-Gold_medal_icon.svg Gold – Powerlifting – Men’s +107kg: Siamand Rahman – 310kg PR & WR
16px-Gold_medal_icon.svg Gold – Shooting – Mixed 50m pistol SH1: Sareh Javanmardi – 189.5 FPR
16px-Gold_medal_icon.svg Gold – Shooting – Women’s 10m pistol SH1: Sareh Javanmardi – 193.4 FPR
16px-Gold_medal_icon.svg Gold – Sitting Volleyball – Men’s: Meisam Ali Pour, Davoud Alipourian (c), Mahdi Babadi, Sadegh Bigdeli, Hossein Golestani, Arash Khormali, Majid Lashkarisanami, Mehrzad Mehravan, Morteza Mehrzadselakjani, Abolfazl Oliyaei, Ramezan Salehihajikolaei and Isa Zirahi. Coach: Hadi Rezaei.
16px-Silver_medal_icon.svg Silver
– Archery –
Team recurve open: Zahra Nemati, Ebrahim Ranjbar
16px-Silver_medal_icon.svg Silver – Athletics – Men’s Discus Throw F54/55/56: Alireza Ghaleh Naseri
16px-Silver_medal_icon.svg Silver – Athletics – Men’s Javelin Throw – F13: Sajad Nikparast
16px-Silver_medal_icon.svg Silver
– Athletics –
Men’s Javelin Throw – F57: Abdollah Heydari
16px-Silver_medal_icon.svg Silver – Athletics – Men’s Shot Put – F12: Saman Pakbaz
16px-Silver_medal_icon.svg Silver – Athletics – Men’s Shot Put – F42: Sajjad Mohammadian
16px-Silver_medal_icon.svg Silver
– Athletics –
Men’s Shot Put – F54/55: Hamed Amiri – 11.40m WR (in F54)
16px-Silver_medal_icon.svg Silver – Football –
5-a-side: Defenders (B1) Mohammad Heidari, Mohammadreza Mehninasab, Amir Pourrazavi and Ahmadreza Shahhosseini. Forwards (B1) Rasool Baseri, Sadegh Rahimighasr, Hossein Rajabpour (c) and Behzad Zadaliasghari. Goalkeepers (sighted) Meysam Shojaeiyan and Akbar Shoushtari. Coaches: Javad Felfeli and Mohammadreza Shaddel Basir.
16px-Silver_medal_icon.svg Silver
– Football –
7-a-side: Defenders: Lotfollah Jangjou, Mohammad Kharat, Rastegarimobin Hashem (c) and Hassan Safari. Midfielders: Moslem Akbari, Jasem Bakhshi, Sadegh Hassani Baghi, Mehdi Jamali, Farzad Mehri and Hossein Tiz Bor. Forwards: Rasoul Atashafrouz and Behnam Sohrabi. Goalkeepers: Khazaeipirsarabi Moslem and Babak Safarikourabbasloo. Coach: Amin Allahmani.
Bronze_medal_icon.svg Bronze Archery – Men’s Ind. Recurve Open: Ebrahim Ranjbar – 637 PR (72 arrw. rkg. rd)
Bronze_medal_icon.svg Bronze – Athletics – Men’s 1500m T20: Peyman Nasiri Bazanjani
Bronze_medal_icon.svg Bronze Athletics – Men’s Javelin Throw – F34: Mohsen Kaedi
Bronze_medal_icon.svg Bronze Athletics – Men’s Javelin Throw – F38: Javad Hardani
Bronze_medal_icon.svg Bronze – Athletics – Men’s Shot Put – F53: Asadollah Azimi
Bronze_medal_icon.svg
Bronze – Athletics – Men’s Shot Put – F56/57: Javid Ehsani Shakib
Bronze_medal_icon.svg Bronze – Powerlifting – Men’s -107 kg: Ali Sadeghzadeh

The Iran men’s national sitting volleyball team is the most succesful team worldwide. Since their first appearance at the Summer Paralympics in 1988, they have always reached the finals, winning gold except in 2004 and 2012, when they won silver. Since 1984 they have placed among the best three at the World Championships, winning gold in 1984, 1986, 1990, 1994, 1998 and 2010, silver in 2006 and bronze in 2002 and 2014.

The most succesful Iranians in the history of the Paralympics are athletes Ghader Modabber Raz and Mokhtar Nourafshan, followed by sitting volleyball player Ali Kashfia.

Ghader Modabber Raz competed in F51/F52 Men’s Discus Throw, Javelin Throw and Shot Put in Atlanta 1996 and Sydney 2000. He won a total of five gold and one bronze medals. Mokhtar Nourafshan competed in 1988, 1996, 2000 and 2004 in F53/F54/F55 Men’s Discus Throw, Javelin Throw and Shot Put, winning four gold, two silver and one bronze medals. Ali Kashfia represented Iran in men’s sitting volleyball at the Paralympics from 1988 to 2000, winning four gold medals.

Archer Zahra Nemati and shooter Sareh Javanmardi are Iran’s most succesful women. Nemati won twice gold, once silver and once bronze at the Paralympic Games in London 2012 and Rio 2016, while Javanmardi won two gold and one bronze medals .

Hadi Rezaei won three gold medals as a player at the men’s sitting volleyball event (1988, 1992, 1996) but added three gold (2000, 2008, 2016) and two silver medals (2004, 2012) as a coach.

Related articles:
The other Iran | 2015 IPC Athletics World Championships
The other Iran | Iran in Rio 2016

Sources: Rio 2016 | Iran, Wikipedia | Iran at the 2016 Summer Paralympics, Wikipedia | Bahman Golbarnezhad, BBC | Bahman Golbarnezhad (in Persian), paralympic.org | Biographies, paralympic.org | Statement, The Guardian, news.xinhuanet.com, Young Journalists Club | Closing ceremony, Tasnim News Agency | Opening ceremony, Daily Mail | Opening ceremony, avax.news | Opening ceremony, The Baltimore Sun | Darkroom, paralympic.org | Historical results, Wikipedia | Iran men’s national sitting volleyball team,

Iran’s West Azerbaijan Province: Shalmash Falls (Photos)

Shalmash Falls is a cluster of three waterfalls, each of them about 10m high, along a branch of the Little Zab River, situated on the outskirts of the village of Sardasht, West Azerbaijan Province, Iran.

The falls lie in a beautiful valley, surrounded by scattered forests. There is a staircased viewing platform to ease the access to the falls but a good hike deep into the valley would be necessary to go near the other two falls.

Sources: Wikipedia | Shalmash Falls, Iran Daily, IRNA 1, IRNA 2, tishineh.com

Watching Perseids in Iran (Photos)

The Perseids is a prolific meteor shower visible from mid-July each year, that stretches along the orbit of the comet Swift–Tuttle. The cloud consists of particles ejected by the comet as it travels on its 133-year orbit. The meteors were named Perseids because the point from which they appear to come, called the radiant, lies in the constellation Perseus.

Although they can be seen all across the sky, they are primarily visible in the Northern Hemisphere. The peak in activity is between August 9th to 14th. During the peak, the rate of meteors reaches 60 or more per hour. Most Perseids burn up in the atmosphere while at heights above 80km.

The earliest record of Perseid activity comes from the Chinese annals, where it is said that in 36 AD “more than 100 meteors flew thither in the morning.” Numerous references appear in Chinese, Japanese and Korean records throughout the 8th, 9th, 10th and 11th centuries.

Perseids seen in Darbid and Khoravand. Darbid is a village in Yazd Province, 40km from the city of Yazd. Khoravand is a village in Markazi Province, 70km from Arak.

In Europe, the first known observation is from the year 811 and the first known written record is from “Introduction a la Philosophie naturelle” by Dutch scientist Pieter van Musschenbroek in 1762, where he states that the increased August meteor activity is a recurring event. In 1835, Belgian astronomer Adolphe Quetelet identified the shower as emanating from the constellation Perseus. In 1866, after the perihelion passage of Swift-Tuttle in 1862, the Italian astronomer Giovanni Virginio Schiaparelli discovered the link between meteor showers and comets.

The Perseids is the most famous of all meteor showers. Due to its summertime appearance, it tends to provide the majority of meteors seen by non-astronomy enthusiasts.

Sources: Wikipedia | Perseids, meteorshowersonline.comTasnim News Agency, Borna News, Wikipedia | Khoravand, Wikipedia | Darbid

Iran’s Kermanshah Province: Paveh – Pomegranate Harvest

Paveh, with a population of 19,800 inhabitants, is a city in Kermanshah Province, Iran. It is located in a sub-region along the Iran-Iraq border commonly referred to as Hewraman situated within the larger geographical region of Kurdistan. The city is considered by inhabitants of the region as the capital of the Hewraman. The inhabitants of Paveh are mostly Kurds that speak Auramani.

As a mountainous town, Paveh has cold winters and cool springs. The surrounding mountains are normally filled with fresh spring water from March to June. The town is also encircled with large fruit gardens which create beautiful sceneries during summers.

An old myth regarding the name of the city is that the Emperor Yazdgerd III sent his son named Pav to this area to renew his religious Zoroastrian faith. Both Persians and the local Kurdish inhabitants practiced Zoroastrianism during the Persian Empire’s Sasanian era from which this myth is derived.

Sources: ISNA, Wikipedia | Paweh

Rio 2016: Zahra Nemati – Iranian archer

Born in April 1985 in Kerman, Iran, Nemati took up taekwondo when she was only eight. Ten years later, in 2003 she suffered a spinal injury during a road accident and both of her legs were paralyzed. After spending two months in the hospital, she returned home in a wheelchair. This would have been the end of a sporting career for most people, but not for Nemati.

On Friday August 5th, 2016, Nemati lead Iranian athletes as flag bearer during the opening ceremony of the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. She is the only Iranian woman ever to have won a Paralympic gold medal and the only Iranian athlete who has qualified for both the 2016 Olympics and the 2016 Paralympics.

She is also the only Iranian athlete who has received the coveted Sport Accord’s Spirit of Sport Individual Award in 2013 and the first Iranian athlete to be named athlete of the year by the International Olympics Committee.

Nevertheless, she is not the first woman from Iran to participate at the Olympic games as flag bearer, as stated in many news articles. In fact, in 1996 at the Atlanta Olympics, sports shooter Lida Fariman was the first woman to lead Iran’s contingent. At the time, Fariman was the first woman from Iran to participate at the Olympics since the Islamic revolution of 1979.

In 2008, at the Beijing Olympics, rower Homa Hosseini (women’s single sculls) also led the Iranian delegation, as well as alpine skier Marjan Kalhor (slalom and giant slalom); she was Iran’s flag bearer in 2010 at the Vancouver Winter Olympics.

Related article:
The Guardian | Trail-blazer Zahra Nemati wins hearts and minds with stirring effort in archery

I am posting daily updates on Iranian athletes’ performances and events at Rio 2016 Olympics here: The other Iran | Iran in Rio 2016

Sources: IranWire, Hindustan TimesBUSTLE, NBC Olympics, NBC News, worldarchery.org

Leila Peykan Pour wins national rally championship (Photos)

Leila Peykan Pour, racing driver from Isfahan, won a national rally championship in KIA Pride Class Standard in Tehran’s Azadi Sports Complex. Forty six drivers from eight provinces competed in four classes.

Sources: fararu.com, Azad News Agency (ANA) 1, ANA 2

Rio 2016: Mahsa Javar – Iranian rower (women’s single sculls)

Mahsa Javar, born 1994 in Zanjan, is competing in Women’s Single Sculls at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games on Saturday, August 6th (9:30am local time).

She won a bronze medal in Lightweight Women’s Quadruple Sculls at the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea and a silver medal in the same discipline at the 2013 Asian Championships in Lu’an, China.

Photos: Mahsa Javar training for the Olympic Games at Azadi Sport Complex, Tehran – July 2016

Sources: ISNA, Wikipedia | Mahsa Javar (in Persian)