The achievements of Iran’s Paralympic athletes have been honoured at a special event in the city of Masshad.
145 medallists from Paralympic Games dating back to Seoul 1988 were recognised at a Praise Ceremony on 3 September organised by Iran’s National Paralympic Committee (NPC) and attended by a number of government officials.
Zahra Nemati - who won women’s recurve gold in archery at Rio 2016 - was at the event which was broadcast live on Iran’s most popular television channel. She hopes the recognition will inspire future generations to take up Para sport.
“Holding such ceremonies will be a good motivation for those with disability that do not start playing sports yet,” she said.
“Such appreciation will be a great motivation for young people that intend to join sport.”
The world’s strongest Paralympian – powerlifting champion Siamand Rahman – was unable to attend the event due to his preparation for this month’s World Para Powerlifting Championships in Mexico City.
The celebration was also tinged with sadness, as cyclist Bahman Golbarnejad received a special recognition. The 48-year-old was killed in an accident while racing at Rio 2016, and his family attended the ceremony.
As well as honouring athletes, the event also marked the progress of Para sport in the country. Two former Presidents of Iran’s Sport Federation for the Disabled – Hossein Sarkheil and Mansour Borjian – were awarded Certificates of Appreciation signed by International Paralympic Committee President Sir Philip Craven.