Iran is one of the 206 nations participating in 28 different sports fields at the 2016 Summer Olympic Games that open on August 5, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
According to Iran’s National Olympics Committee website, since their first presence in the games in 1948, Iranian athletes have participated in every edition with the exception of the 1980 and 1984 games, and won 60 medals.
This year, a total of 64 athletes, 55 men and 9 women, will compete in 15 fields.
The participants are the country’s best in their own fields who have won medals of different colors in the Asian and world tournaments. While some will experience the Olympics for the first time, a number of them were present in previous editions. Further, there are individuals in certain sports who are expected to win no less than gold.
Para-archer Zahra Nemati is Iran’s flag bearer at the opening ceremony. Nemati was the first Iranian woman to win a gold medal at the 2012 Summer Paralympics in London.
Grabbing one of the three Olympic places in the 2015 Asian Archery Championships in Bangkok, Thailand, she qualified to compete in both the 2016 Summer Olympics and Paralympics.
Nemati is Iran’s only archer in the event who will compete with 63 other archers in the women’s individual section.
Paralympic champion archer Zahra Nemati will carry Iran’s flag at the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro
Wrestling is considered the country’s first sport and Iranian wrestlers have always been among the best in the world. This time, 12 wrestlers, six in freestyle and six in Greco Roman style, are participating.
Iran won three gold, two silver and three bronze medals in wrestling in the London 2012 games. In June, Iran won its fifth consecutive Freestyle World Cup title defeating Russia.
In freestyle wrestling, Hassan Rahimi in the -57 kg weight class, Meisam Nassiri in -65 kg, Hassan Yazdani in -74 kg, Alireza Karimi in -86 kg, Reza Yazdani in -97 kg and 2012 London bronze winner heavyweight Komail Qasemi in -125 kg will compete.
In the Greco Roman style, 2012 London gold winners Hamid Sourian in the -59 kg class and Omid Norouzi in -66 kg and Qasem Rezaei in -98 kg will contend along with Saeid Abdevali in -75 kg, Habibollah Akhlaghi in -85 kg and Bashir Babajanzadeh in -130 kg.
Iranian weightlifters have qualified in five categories for the Rio Olympics and they are all favorites to win medals. The team includes 2012 London silver winner Kianoush Rostami in the men’s -85 kg category, Ali Hashemi and Sohrab Moradi in -94 kg and Mohammadreza Barari in -105 kg.
Competing in the +105 kg class, Behdad Salimi aims to maintain his title after his gold medal performance in the 2012 London Games.
In athletics (track and field) category, nine men and 1 woman will compete. In the track and road events, Reza Ghasemi and Hassan Taftian are Iran’s representatives in the 100 meters, Hamidreza Zouravand in the 20-meter walk and Mohammad Jafar Moradi in the marathon.
In the field events, Mohammad Arzandeh will compete in the long jump, 2012 London silver winner Ehsan Hadadi and Mahmoud Samini in the discus throw; and Pejman Ghalehnoei and Kaveh Mousavi in the hammer throw.
The only Iranian woman in the field events is Leila Rajabi who will vie for a medal in the shot put.
In taekwondo, four athletes, three men and a woman are in the competition and there is immense pressure on them as they are expected to win the gold at the event.
Farzan Ashourzadeh, in the men’s -58 kg division, currently ranked 1st in the world is a strong favorite to win gold. Mehdi Khodabakhshi, in the -80 kg, is the current world champion in the lightweight series. Sajjad Mardani, in the +80 kg, is also another favorite to win the gold.
The 18-year-old Kimia Alizadeh Zenoorin also hopes to bring glory to Iran as she defeated London 2012 gold medalist Jade Jones at the 2015 World Championship. She is the only Iranian female in the women’s lightweight category (-57 kg).
Iran men’s volleyball team qualified for the games as the highest-ranked Asian team at the World Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Japan earlier this year, signifying the nation’s Olympic debut in the sport. Considering their recent achievements, expectations are high from the team, if not to win a medal but perform well in front of the world giants.
Four women and one male shooter have achieved places in different events of the games. The women include Elaheh Ahmadi (10-meter) air rifle, Mahlagha Jambozorg (50m rifle 3 positions), Najmeh Khedmati at both events and Golnoush Sebghatollahi (10m air pistol and 25m pistol). Pouria Norouzian (10m rifle and 50m rifle 3 positions) is the only male shooter from Iran.
Iranian cyclists at the event include Qader Mizbani who will participate in men’s road race and time trial while Arvin Moazzami and Samad Pourseyedi will compete in the road race division.
Iran has qualified three judokas for each of the following weight classes: Alireza Khojasteh at men’s half-lightweight (-66 kg), Saeid Mollaei at -81 kg and Javad Mahjoub at -100 kg.
Three athletes will play for Iran in the table tennis competitions. Brothers Nima and Noshad Alamian and Neda Shahsavari will play in the men’s and women’s singles categories respectively.
Sabre fencers Ali Pakdaman and Mojtaba Abedini are the contenders in the men’s saber category.
Although not qualified in the first place, Iran has received a position from the International Canoe Federation to enter a boat in the men’s C-1 200 meters section for the Olympics.
Iran came second at the 2015 Canoe Sprint World Championships. However, as the Russian winners are banned from taking part due to doping scandals, Adel Mojallali will take on the rivals in Rio.
The only Iranian in rowing is Mahsa Javar. She will compete in the women’s single sculls.
Also, Aria Nasimishad is the only swimmer from Iran to compete in the men’s 200-meter breaststroke division. Ehsan Rouzbahani will compete in the men’s light heavyweight division of the Olympic boxing tournament.
This year’s Olympics will host more than 10,500 athletes from 206 National Olympic Committees (NOCs). With 306 sets of medals, the games will feature 28 sports and conclude on August 28.
Source: Finantial Tribune