By Masoud Hossein

Iran’s NPC eyes a better place at Paralympics

November 18, 2020 - 17:7

TEHRAN – Iran’s National Paralympic Committee (NPC) is getting ready for the Tokyo Paralympics, where the Iranian delegation aims to sit in a better place compared to the previous edition.

Iran sent a record number of competitors to Rio 2016, being represented by 110 athletes in 12 sports. The Iranian athletes won eight gold, nine silver and seven bronze medals and finished in 15th place.

Iran’s NPC will send nine sports to Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, namely athletics, archery, sitting volleyball, wheelchair basketball, taekwondo, rowing, judo, shooting and powerlifting.

Iran's chef de mission for the 2020 Paralympic Games Hadi Rezaei and NPC Secretary General Mohammad Tabe talked about the Games with the media representatives during a webinar organized by Iran’s NPC on Tuesday.

“We hope that in the upcoming edition we can improve our ranking and we will do our best to guarantee a better place. At least we’ll be looking to repeat what we did last time,” Tabe said.

Many sports activities are shut down in order to reduce spread of COVID-19 from February. It could be a huge blow to the athletes who prepare for the Games. Asked him whether the NPC can hold the camp for the athletes in a centralized training camp, Tabe said, “Our first, second and third priorities are to protect our athletes, since we have a duty of care to protect them. We will try to find the best places with the lowest risk to hold our camps. We continue to advance our mission according to the health protocols.”

Hadi Rezaei also said the football 5-a-side, who won a silver medal at the 2016 Paralympic Games, have still a chance to represent Iran in the Games.

Iran’s NPC had already announced that it would not send the blind football team to the Paralympics, however the committee later changed its decision but IBSA said the deadline has expired and Thailand will participate in Tokyo instead of Iran.

“We still have a chance if a team decide to withdraw from the Paralympic Games and Iran can be replaced. In Rio, Iran football 7-a-side were not supposed to partake at the Games but it participated in the competition as Russia’s replacement and won the silver medal. We hope that the football 5-a-side can represent our country in the event,” Rezaei said.

Rezaei also stressed that the safety of the athletes will be ensured by reducing the number of the people allowed to attend the Games.

“What's important for IPC is to make sure that all the measures being made to ensure the health and safety of all the athletes are inclusive and accessible for all. So, we will have to narrow the number of companions for the Games,” the chef de mission added.

Iran's best performance at the Paralympic Games since they made their debut at Seoul in 1988 was at London 2012 when they finished 11th with a total of 24 medals, including 10 gold.

The Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games are set to be the biggest and best yet with around 4,400 Para athletes from more than 160 countries taking part in 22 sports.

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