Russian head coach Vladimir Alekno announced Iran’s 12-man squad taking part at the volleyball competitions of the Tokyo Olympics.
Saeid Marouf, Javad Karimi (setters); Milad Ebadipour, Meysam Salehi, Morteza Sharifi (outside hitters); Seyyed Mohammad Mousavi, Masoud Gholami, Ali-Asghar Mojarrad (middle blockers); Amir Ghafour, Saber Kazemi (opposite spikers); Arman Salehi, and Mehdi Marandi (liberoes) will leave Iran for the Japanese capital on July 17.
Pouria Fayyazi and Reza Abedini, who were members of the team at the recently-finished Volleyball Nations League (VNL) in Italy, as well as Ebrahim Mirzajanpour were the players to be dropped by the Russian ahead of the Games.
Farhad Qaemi, Bardia Sa’adat, Mohammad-Taher Vadi, and Amirhossein Esfandiar had already been omitted by Alekno.
All teams will have until 8:00 p.m. on July 22 to make a couple of changes to their squads in case of emergency.
Alekno, who had only took charge of the Asian powerhouse in mid-April, led Iran to a below-par 12th spot in the 16-team VNL table.
However, the introduction of some new faces as well as a proper mixture of youth and experienced players offered glimpses of hope for the Olympics under the Russian, who enjoys a glittering record with his home country at the Games, having won the gold in 2012 following a bronze medal in Beijing 2008.
Iran is pitted in Pool A of the volleyball contests in Tokyo against the host nation Japan, Poland, Italy – the silver medalist in Rio 2016 – Canada, and Venezuela.
Looking to emulate their last-eight spot in Rio, Iran will begin their campaign against favorites Poland on July 24, with the last game of the preliminary round coming against Japan on August 1.
Pool B will see the defending champion Brazil, USA, Russia, Argentina, France, and Tunisia squaring off for four spots in the quarterfinals.
The Tokyo Olympics, postponed by a year due to the coronavirus pandemic, will kick off in the Japanese capital on July 23.