16 October- IRI National Paralympic Committee celebrated the fifteenth anniversary of the National Paralympic Day across all 31 provinces in Iran.
After a two-year pause in staging
the National Paralympic day due to the outbreak COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and
2021, the 2022 event faced a decrease in the number of participants.
Though, based on the NPC
Iran's prediction 60,000 people with impairment from the target community were
supposed to attend the nationwide festival, but the final number of
participants landed at 42,700 individuals.
The distribution of medals, sport balls and gifts to children were performed as an outdoor part of the festival. The athletes’ representative and double gold medalists of the 2021 Youth Para Asian Games, Atena Mohammadiha delivered an emotional welcome speech to the audiences as a role model.
During the ceremony, different para sports were demonstrated at the Azadi Indoor Hall.
The audience, especially children, had an opportunity to try out some of the Para sports themselves at this annual festival that set to boost Paralympic Movement in Iran.
A video message from International Paralympic Committee (IPC) president Andrew Parsons was played at a special ceremony in the Iranian capital, then the APC President explained in his speech that to have such a longstanding event, celebrating the achievements of people with impairment, is a testament to the fine work being done by Iran’s National Paralympic Committee.
The event plays an important role in discovering the new talents and has become part of the national calendar in 2016 following a Presidential order.
As one of the most important milestones of NPC Iran, the first edition of National Paralympic Day took place in 2003, around 3,000 people attended that ceremony and in the 12th edition in 2019, a record-breaking number of over 60,000 participants celebrated this event across all 31 provinces in Iran (a year prior Covid). The last fourteen editions of this event have been crammed full of excitement and joy for disabled kids and their families to enhance their perception in regard to the Paralympic movement.
In his address to the 15th I. R. Iran National Paralympic Day, the APC President highlighted the impressive results that Iranian athletes achieved on the field of play in both summer and winter sports, the Asian Para Games in Jakarta and 2021 Asian Youth Para Games in Bahrain, where the young stars of Iran topped the medal table winning 122 medals.
In total, Iran has achieved 60 gold medals, 48 silvers and 45 bronzes since making its Paralympic debut at Seoul 1988.
The annual event in Iran has been marked several times with encouraging messages by former and current International Paralympic Committee Presidents, Sir Philip Craven and Andrew Parsons which show commitment of IPC to develop Para sports and social inclusion of people with disabilities through sport.
Photos by: Amirreza Ostvari and Akbar Dadashzadeh