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Iran announces Rio Paralympic team

Para-canoeist Shahla Behrouzi Rad is Iran's biggest medal hope
by Masoud Hossein, Sports Press Iran
TEHRAN, July 23, 2016 - Iran announced the athletes that will make up their 95-strong delegation that will compete in 11 sports at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.

Iran’s women’s sitting volleyball player Eshrat Kordestani will be the delegation’s flag-bearer at the opening ceremony.

Iran seeks gold medal in the men’s sitting volleyball as the team has won five gold medals in the Games.

The most decorated sitting volleyball team is in Pool B alongside world and European champion Bosnia and Herzegovina, Russia and China.

Sitting Volleyball at the 2016 Summer Paralympics will be held from 9 September to 18 September at the Riocentro Pavilion 6 in Rio de Janeiro. Two events will be contested: men's and women's team.

Debutant Iran’s women’s sitting volleyball team has been pooled with powerhouses China, USA and Rwanda.

Powerlifter Siamand Rahman will have an eye-catching performance since the over 107kg strongman is saving a 300kg haul for the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.

Five other Iranian powerlifters, namely Majid Farzin in the 80kg and Hamed Solhipour in the 88kg weight categories could win the medals in the prestigious event.

The wheelchair basketball team has been pitted against USA, England, Germany, Algeria and host Brazil in Pool B. Iran coach Abbas Aghakouchaki says that his side will be hard team to beat.

“We will have difficult matches ahead of us. We have analyzed our rivals expect Algeria which remains an unknown team for us,” Aghakouchaki told Paralympic.ir.

“Iran has been out of the competition for eight years. We finished in eighth place in the 2014 Men's Wheelchair Basketball World Championship in Incheon, South Korea, but we need to balance logic and emotion to make better decisions in our matches. Iran will be a difficult team to defeat and we are even among the favorites,” he added.

The competition will be held from September 8 to 17.

Iran’s football 5-a-side team aims for podium for the first time.

Host Brazil is the most decorated team in the Games.

Iranian athletic team won five gold medals, five silvers and three bronzes at the 2012 Summer Paralympics in London and the athletes look forward to winning medals at Rio as well.

Iran will participate at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games with 25 athletes.

Para-archer Zahra Nemati, who became the first Iranian woman to win Olympic or Paralympic gold when she topped the podium in the individual recurve W1/W2, will carry Iran’s flag at the 2016 Olympic Games.

First, she will do her best to take a medal in the Olympics then will try to repeat her gold at the Paralympics.

"I will do my best to win honors in Olympic and Paralympic Games simultaneously and I dedicate a gold medal to my family," she said.

A total of seven archers will represent Team Iran in the event.

Iran will also have three judokas in the competition.

Para-shooter Sareh Javanmardi, who won a bronze at the Women's 10 m air pistol SH1 in London, is going to take a gold medal in the upcoming event.

Five shooters will participate at Paralympics.

Para-canoeist Shahla Behrouzi Rad sees herself as an athlete who has a chance to win a medal in Paralympics. She will represent Iran at the women’s KL2 200m.

Para-cyclist Bahman Golbarnezhad will participate at the event as the sole Iranian representative.

Also, para-swimmer Shahin Izadyar is the sole Iranian delegate in Rio.

The Iranian delegation is hoping to outdo its performance at London 2012, when it won 10 gold medals, seven silvers and seven bronzes.

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