Iranian Sports Minister Masoud Soltanifar praised his fellow countrymen’s result at international sporting events over the past four years.
“Iran had magnificent achievements in multiple sports in the past four years which came as a result of the efforts and hard work by the athletes, coaches, and officials,” Soltanifar said on Sunday after handing a four-year report of the ministry’s performance to the Cultural Committee of the Parliament.
“Iran dominated the 2018 World Cup qualifiers and, while drawn in the group of death, claimed the best results in the main event, compared to the previous four participations in the competition,” the Iranian official said, adding, “The country also reached the Asian Cup semifinals for the first time in 15 years.”
Iran, under ex-manager Carlos Queiroz, finished third in Group B of the World Cup in Russia with four points – only one behind group winner Spain and Portugal – before falling to a 3-0 last-four defeat against Japan at the Asian Cup in January 2019.
Soltanifar also hailed Iranian clubs’ performances at the AFC Champions League in recent years, wishing luck for Persepolis in the Dec. 19 final.
The Reds secured a place in the final for the second time in three years after beating Saudi side Al Nassr in the shootout last October.
Speaking of other sports, Soltanifar said, “Iranians clinched 62 medals at the 2018 Asian Games, which was the best tally for the country after the Islamic Revelation.
“The Iranian volleyball team won the gold without losing a single set. We claimed a water polo medal – bronze – for the first time since 1974, while the men’s and women’s teams won double golds in kabaddi.
Iran finished sixth in the overall standing in the Games, behind China, Japan, South Korea, Indonesia, and Uzbekistan.
Soltanifar also believes the Iran has done a decent job in securing spots at next year’s Tokyo Olympics.
“Our athletes have managed to book Olympic places in volleyball, karate, basketball, taekwondo, and wushu and hopefully there is more to come once the qualification events resume in the coming months.”