Mar 9, 2024 11:18
news| paralympic| Rahimov: Iran is a developed country in Paralympic Movement
The International Blind Sports Federation (IBSA) President Ilgar Rahimov praised the Iranian Para athletes and considered the country as a developed nation in the Paralympic Movement.

The Azerbaijani top official said that IBSA has friendly ties with Iran’s National Paralympic Committee (NPC) and Sports Federation for the Blind and Partially Sighted. In an exclusive interview with Tehran Times, Rahimov said that the Iranian athletes are an active part of the entire Paralympic movement.


Tehran Times: First of all, I would like to know your opinion about blind sports in Iran. Do you follow the sports news of this West Asian country?

Ilgar Rahimov: I first thank you for your interest in interviewing me. It is very important for me to convey the positions and ideas of IBSA to all countries and athletes. From this point of view, communication through the press is one of the effective methods of disseminating information about the reforms that have begun in IBSA. Of course, as the head of such an authoritative international sports federation as IBSA, I also need to have information about the sports of blind and visually impaired people in different countries. Otherwise, we will not be able to effectively build our activities.


Q: How do you evaluate the stance of Iran in IBSA at the moment and the country has been successful in Paralympics and Asian Para Games?

A: Iran is a developed and advanced country in the world of sports, especially in the Paralympic movement. The sport of blind and visually impaired athletes is also developing very strongly in your country. We actively cooperate with the Iranian Paralympic Committee, as well as with the Iran Sports Federation for the Blind and Partially Sighted, which is an official member of the IBSA. I would tell you that we not only collaborate with the leaders of these organizations, we also have friendly ties with Ghafoor Karegari and Mohammadreza Mazloumi, whom I greatly respect and appreciate for their contribution to the development of sports among the disabled. We meet periodically at various forums and competitions to discuss problems.


Q: Please tell us about the Iranian officials on the world stage and have their performance been satisfactory so far?

A: Representatives of your country carry out their activities in various sports committees of the IBSA, are international judges, and international medical classifiers. For example, Nezam Dodel is the chairman of the IBSA powerlifting committee. The committee he heads includes many Iranian representatives. Fariba Mohammadi is a member Women's Development of the IBSA Goalball Committee. Morteza Najafi is one of the most qualified IBSA classifiers. We all work on the same team. Therefore, I am very aware of the development of sports in Iran and of course I follow sports news from this country.


Q: As you know, Iranian blind football won the silver medal in Rio 2016 and athletes in other sports are also attracting attention so far. In your opinion, as IBSA Mr. President, what is the most famous sport for the blind in Iran?

A: IBSA sports are developing very strongly in Iran. Athletes of your country always perform effectively at all IBSA competitions, be it competitions in various sports or be it IBSA multi-sport competitions. In addition, blind and visually impaired athletes from Iran win many awards at competitions held under the auspices of the IPC. Therefore, it is very difficult to single out any particular sport. Your teams perform equally successfully in competitions in blind football and goalball, in IBSA judo competitions, powerlifting and others. Iranian teams are always at the forefront in terms of results of competitions and games.

The next Paralympic Games in Paris are of course approaching. IBSA will be represented at these games by three sports - judo, football and goalball. It is already known that the Iranian men's team will be represented in goalball competitions. In judo competitions, many para judokas from your country are in high places in the rankings and this will allow them to also participate in the games in Paris. I wish all athletes from your country to represent Iran well at these games.

IBSA President 2

Q: Who is the most influential athlete among Iranian visually impaired athletes at the Paralympic Games?

A: I would not like to single out any of the athletes separately. I know many of them personally. I know how much they support their country and want to win every competition. Sport is their life. This is an opportunity to establish yourself in society. And each of them is a hero with a capital letter.


Q: Let us know your opinion about Iranian female athletes. Which sport or athlete do you think lived up to expectations?

A: Iranian athletes are an active part of the entire Paralympic Movement. There are many famous names among them. Not only Iranian girls, but also many athletes from other countries look up to them and their successes. It is enough to name such names as Zahra Nemati, she is a legend of all world sports. Sareh Javanmardi, Hashemiyeh Motaghian and others. I can also highlight the rapidly developing women's goalball team. Like other countries there is still work to be done but the attention being paid to the development of sports in Iran will allow new names of Iranian female athletes to shine in the near future.


Q: The question arises about the classification of blind people in sports. For example, we see a judoka or a football player may even drive a car. Tell us in more detail how the classification occurs?

A: Classification is one of the most important and unique aspects of all Para sports and is something which constantly evolves with new research, knowledge and technology becoming available.

Specific to IBSA, and before my election, in 2021 a new classification system was launched in judo after many years of research and collaboration with experts and the wider community. For blind football and goalball, a similar process is being undertaken.

When I was elected IBSA President seven months ago, I made it my top priority to initiate the latest review of classification and the systems within it in all sports in IBSA. All International Federations and the Paralympic Movement as a whole recognize that, like all systems, classification can – and should – be under constant review so that everyone can have confidence in the process. This is crucial.


Q: Are you satisfied with the work of your organization?

A: It is under a year since my election but so far, I believe it has been possible to lay the groundwork for a new era for IBSA.

When I was elected, I promised IBSA Members that the new Board would be responsive to their needs – and those of their athletes - in the ever-evolving environment we are all operating in.

In a short time, we have been able to strengthen the athlete voice and prepare for a comprehensive review of IBSA’s activities. We have also brought in new expertise in operations, anti-doping and communications to professionalize these functions with further plans for finance and classification.


There is still much work to do but I believe we are on the track.

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Keywords: International Blind Sports Federation,IBSA President,Iran Paralympic Movement