APC President, Majid Rashed, concluded his three-day visit by attending a press conference that lasted almost an hour and addressed all the questions raised. The press conference covering a range of issues from National Paralympic Day, pandemic, upcoming MoUs for possible hosting of regional Games.
-This visit means a lot for me and I saw
positive energy from everyone
-We can support other countries to use
your new manufacture, if officially certified
-Sport is our platform for peace,
tolerance and love
-We will have 22 sports in Hangzhou with
more than 4,000 athletes
-NPC Iran to present National Paralympic
Day as a role model in the next GA
President Majid Rashed expressed that he is glad to visit the minister of sports and youth, NPC president, the rest of the team and above all, athletes.
In his preliminary address at the NPC headquarter; APC President Majid Rashed highlighted the 15th edition of National Paralympic Day in Iran, “It gave a great example to the world of the sustainable success in developing Paralympic movement.” He stated, “According to what we saw here and the achievement and the great results of the Iranian Para athletes around the world, I would like to thank the leader of Iran, the government, the people, the media, sponsors, and volunteers. You are all doing a great job to support the athletes and the movement."
Speaking to reporters at a much-anticipated press conference in Tehran on Tuesday (18 Oct), Asian Paralympic Committee (APC) President Majid Rashed said, “My first visit to National Paralympic Day means a lot for me and I saw positive energy from everyone and the diversity of the groups of disabilities and their families.” Mr. President said that he had a plan to participate in the National Paralympic Day before Corona Pandemic, but couldn’t take part because of his circumstances and would be happy to be here again and again.
With regard to a seat for Iranian individuals in the APC board and other organizations, Rashed insisted that doors are open and it is possible while he did not see any obstacles or barriers for Iranian representatives to be elected in the board and other standing committees through election.
Addressing delegates of the media, Majid Rashed commended NPC for its hard work, “I had the chance to visit many centers, the academy, museum, facilities, training camp and NPC as well. You should be proud of what you are doing as I am proud of what we witnessed. On the other hand, we saw the elements that Iran academy works on like promoting developments, medical, physiotherapy, science and research which is like the whole story of the movement,” he mentioned. Mr. Rashed added, “We will have some MoUs in some areas with Iran in the near future though we do not have fully confirmed yet but we discussed Para Winter Games upon our visit to Tochal Mountain and resort with great facilities. You manufacture a new hand bike. It is a great new device for racing and if it is officially certified for competition so we can support other countries to this new manufacture and Iran is willing to do that. Sport is our platform for peace, tolerance and love.”
Accompanied by APC CEO Tarek Souei and NPC CEO Mohammad Tabe in the conference, APC President brought out Pandemic as one of the most important challenges of the APC during these years. “the COVID-19, Corona Pandemic, communication and connection between us in the biggest continent are among our challenges in Asia but my vision and board members is to transfer it into a success to connect each other as a family," said Rashed. “We raised a slogan for Asia that is together we are stronger.”
Concerning setting procedures and protocols of COVID for the next edition of Asian Para Games which will be staged next October in Hangzhou, Mr. president outlined his views, "We follow international standards when it comes to sports management and event, since health, security and safety for athletes and for all delegations is the priority in that time."
One of the subjects raised was referred to the meeting of presidents of five Regional Paralympic Organizations which took place in Dubai this month to have a unified voice and look into the future together with optimism. “That was a very fruitful meeting, as there are many things in common about our Para movement to discuss together about it in terms of exchanging ideas and experience with our friends in different continents.”
The Asian para sports governing body President pointed out the National Paralympic Day in Iran as a role model and said, "we discussed with NPC Iran that for the next general assembly there will be a session for Iran to present the National Paralympic Day in front of all Asian countries to follow the model and the success of this." He added, “We will have some MoUs in some areas with Iran in the near future though we have not confirmed yet but we discussed Para winter games upon our visit to Tochal Mountain and resort with great facilities.”
To fill the gap between developed countries in the movement of Asia like Iran, Japan, and Korea with the rest, he said, “our strategic plan in Asia is no one left in behind, so those successful NPCs like Iran, Korea, Japan, china and other countries as well will be our model.”
When asked about his position as an IPC board member and current status of some popular sports like CP Football that are totally left outside from the schedule of the Paralympic Games, Rashed answered, “I am trying to do my best to represent athletes and their passion for the sports at IPC board. Regarding the IFs that are left outside of the Paralympic Games like IFCPF, they have a responsibility to work more to promote the sports within the NPCs to have better marketing plans for the football in countries and encourage them.”
Rashed also urged at the conference to use sport as a means to promote integration within the country; "Our sport is the door or the platform to work inclusion within the community and society, so we use sports to get people with disabilities integrated with all areas and services in the country. Sport plays a big role in changing minds, increasing awareness and changing the environment to be friendly and accessible. I believe such programs like national Paralympic day will leave a legacy to change the people with disabilities and their families to integrate within the country through sports.”
At the end of the session, APC CEO Tarek Souei made a comment and shared his view about staging the 15th edition of National Paralympic Day in Iran. “let me tell you something, France, who is hosting the next edition of Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2024 was celebrating its first national Paralympic day on 8th Oct but you did it for the fifteenth times and it could be a role model or benchmark for other countries."
Photos by: Majid Zeinalzadeh/ Amirhossein Kheirkhah/ Amirreza Ostovari