Sir Philip Craven, International Paralympic Committee (IPC) President, met with Iranian Minister of Sports and Youth Affairs Masoud Soltanifar on Wednesday.
The meeting which took place at the ministry headquarters in Tehran, was organized by Iran’s National Paralympic Committee.
“First of all, I am happy to travel to Iran. I traveled to Iran with my wife 22 years ago for the first time and I have to say Iran is in my heart. Your country is recognized as a leading country in Paralympics sports,” Craven said.
In his five-day visit to Iran, the IPC president will also meet family of Iranian late para-cyclist Bahman Golbarnezhad in his hometown Shiraz.
Golbarnezhad became the first Paralympic athlete to die in competition following a horrific crash in the men’s C4/C5 road race in Rio.
“That was truly heart-breaking news and the thoughts and condolences of the whole Paralympic Movement are with Bahman’s family, friends, and teammates as well as the whole of the National Paralympic Committee (NPC) of Iran. Bahman will always remain in our hearts,” he added.
“The Rio 2016 Paralympics were a triumph. Despite the challenges we faced before, during and after the Games, they arguably did more for growing the Paralympic Movement than London 2012. In my view, the Rio 2016 was more important than Beijing 2008 and London 2012 Paralympics for the Paralympic Movement,” Craven said.
Craven will visit new sports complex for Paralympic athletes in Isfahan as well.