Reporting by Masoud Hossein

Year in review: Iran sports

March 19, 2020 - 1:27

TEHRAN – The Iranian sports teams and sportspersons experienced some bright moments and some dark in the Iranian year.

In the current Iranian year which started on March 20, 2019, the country’s sports experienced sweet moments and bitter times.

We take a look at a few of them here.

*Tough task ahead of Iran football team

Iran national football team started the 2022 World Cup qualification on high note, beating Hong Kong 2-0 and Cambodia 14-0 but suffered two successive losses against Bahrain and Iraq.

The Team must win four remaining matches to book a place in the next round.

Croatian coach Dragan Skocic was named as Team Melli coach in early February as Belgian coach Marc Wilmots’s replacement.

Iran are seeking to qualify for a third consecutive FIFA World Cup.

*Volleyball at Olympics for second time

Iran national volleyball team claimed the title of the AVC Men’s Tokyo Volleyball Qualification tournament in January and will participate at the 2020 Olympic Games as the best Asian team.

In the previous edition in Olympics, Team Melli finished in fifth place. Iran’s volleyball has improved in the recent years thanks to stars namely, Saeid Marouf, Mohammad Mousavi, Amir Ghafour, Shahram Mahmoudi, and Milad Ebadipour.

The team, headed by Igor Kolakovic, will meet Japan, Poland, Italy, Canada and Venezuela in Pool A at the 2020 Olympic Games.

Pool B consists of Brazil, the U.S., Russia, Argentina, France, and Tunisia.

*Basketball dream of making history

Iranian basketball team are going to write their name into book history at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.

Team Melli secured a spot at the 2020 Olympic Games in China in September. It will be Iran’s third presence in the prestigious event.

Iran’s men’s basketball team have qualified for the competition after 12 years.  It will be the last Olympics for 35-year-old big man Hamed Haddadi, who have been an iconic player for Team Melli in the past years.

* Iranian female weightlifters make history at IWF Worlds

Iran sent four women to the 2019 International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) World Weightlifting Championships for the first time ever in September.

The prestigious competition was held in Pattaya, Thailand and Poupak Basami (55kg), Abrisham Arjomandkhah (64kg), Elham Hosseini (71kg) and Parisa Jahanfekrian (87kg) represented Iran in the event.

The Iranian sportswomen have shown that they have the potential to make the nation proud after shining in the international events in the last years.

*The immigration of Iranian sportspersons

Alireza Faghani, Iranian international referee, made the decision to migrate to Australia with his family in September.

Iranian judoka Saeid Mollaei was cleared to represent Mongolia at Tokyo 2020 after his switch of allegiance was approved by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Executive Board.

Iran's only female Olympic medalist Kimia Alizadeh in January said she plans to compete for Germany after fleeing her home country.

*Iranian wrestling teams claim Asian title

Iranian Greco-Roman and Freestyle teams claimed the title of the 2020 Asian Wrestling Championships in February in New Delhi, India.

The Iranian Greco-Roman wrestlers won three gold and two bronze medals on the second day of the competition and claimed the title with 190 points.

The Iranian freestylers won eight medals in 10 weight categories in the two-day competition and topped the standings with 168 points.

* Paralympic Movement mourns passing of Siamand Rahman

The strongest ever Paralympian Siamand Rahman passed away at the age of 32 on March 1 after suffering a heart attack.

The two-time gold medalist in London 2012 and Rio 2016, was preparing to win his third successive gold at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.

Rahman broke the 300kg barrier in the men´s over 107kg at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, lifting an unprecedented 310kg. The mark he set is the equivalent of three baby elephants.

The Iranian powerlifter had already won three gold medals in the last three Asian Para Games (2010 Guangzhou, 2014 Incheon and 2018 Jakarta).

*Iran football federation’s elections deferred

The Football Federation Islamic Republic of Iran (FFIRI) elective General Assembly was postponed.

FIFA had already ordered FFIRI to postpone the elections until the national governing body amends its current statutes.

The elections were scheduled for March 15 (Sunday).

The FFIRI provided some documents and appealed to FIFA so that the General Assembly could be held as planned.

The documents were not enough and FIFA asked FFIRI officials once again to revise the statutes before holding the elections.

*All sporting events in Iran halted due to coronavirus

Iran's Minister of Sport and Youth Masoud Soltanifar on March 11 announced the suspension all sporting events in the country until April 20.

Iran’s death toll from the coronavirus surpasses 1,000, with the total number of infected people across the country has reached 17,361.

The virus has now infected more than 200,000 people in at least 144 countries.

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