The Tokyo Olympics saw Iranian athletes collect seven medals, including three golds, which led the country to a 27th spot in the medal table.
The closing ceremony of the Olympics was held Sunday, bringing the curtain down on probably the most awkward edition of the Games in the modern era, held in empty venues due to coronavirus restrictions.
While some Iranians did not match the expectations in certain sports, most notably volleyball and taekwondo, others saw years of practice and hard work pay off with the Olympic glory.
Javad Foroughi of Iran celebrates on the podium after winning the men’s shooting 10m air pistol gold at the Tokyo Olympics on July 24, 2021.
Mohammadreza Geraei celebrates with the Iranian flag after winning the men’s Greco-Roman wrestling 67kg gold at the Tokyo Olympics on August 4, 2021.
Sajjad Ganjzadeh summed up years of progress in karate for Iran, grabbing the ultimate prize in the men’s kumite +75kg contests.
Ganjzadeh’s triumph came after Javad Foroughi had won a historic men’s 10m air pistol shooting gold on the first day, while Mohammadreza Geraei went all the way to finish atop the men’s Greco-Roman wrestling 65kg weight class.
Meanwhile, Ali Davoudi again proved to be the second best in the men’s superheavyweight weightlifting, standing behind Georgian giant Lasha Talakhadze, who set three new world records en route to the +109kg gold.
The Games perhaps will be one to forget for Iranian wrestling sensation Hassan Yazdani, who, despite winning a silver, failed to emulate his Rio 2016 success, suffering a third successive defeat in four years against American David Taylor in the freestyle 86kg final. A victory would have seen Yazdani become the only Iranian with double Olympic golds in the history of the sport.
Iran’s Ali Davoudi is in action during the men’s weightlifting +109kg event at the Tokyo Olympics on August 4, 2021. Davoudi won the silver.
PIROSCHKA VAN DE WOUW/REUTERS
Iran’s Hassan Yazdani is in action against American David Taylor in the men’s freestyle wrestling 86kg final at the Tokyo Olympics on August 5, 2021. Yazdani lost the bout to settle for the silver.
Yazdani’s 21-year-old teammate, Amir-Hossein Zare’, will be hoping to build on his performance in Tokyo for future achievements after bagging the 125kg bronze in his maiden seniors competitions.
Mohammad-Hadi Saravi also finished the Olympics with a decent result, taking the 97kg bronze in Greco-Roman wrestling.
Iran’s Amir-Hossein Zare’ celebrates after winning the men’s freestyle wrestling bronze at the Tokyo Olympics on August 6, 2021.
Iran’s Mohammad-Hadi Saravi poses for a photo with his bronze medal in the men’s Greco-Roman wrestling 97kg contests at the Tokyo Olympics on August 3, 2021.
In volleyball, a five-set victory over powerhouse Poland on the first day, followed by an easy win against Venezuela, suggested a memorable campaign for Iran, before the mood suddenly changed for Vladimir Alekno’s men, as three consecutive defeats against Canada, Italy, and Japan saw them being knocked out in the group stage.
The story was the same in taekwondo, as three Iranian representatives, Armin Hadipour, Nahid Kiani, and Mirhashem Hosseini were eliminated in the early stages.
In fencing, Iranian saber participants, highly tipped for a historic success prior to the Games, were unlucky to leave the Olympics empty-handed, as Mojtaba Abedini – a semifinalist in Rio Games – Mohammad Rahbari, and Ali Pakdaman came short of finishing on the podiums, while the three-man side had to settle for the sixth place in the team competition.
Iranian discus thrower Ehsan Haddadi, a silver medalist in London 2012, also feels he could have done better than the 26th spot, had it not been for a couple of untimely injuries hampering his perorations.
A total of seven medals meant Iran finished one short of the tally in Rio Games, where the country also collected three golds for the 25th place in the overall table.
The London 2012 Games remain the most glittering campaign for Iran, where a total of seven gold medals, five silvers, and a single bronze saw the country stand 12th.
On the final day of the Tokyo Games, USA leapfrogged China for the top spot of the medal table, after victories in women’s basketball and volleyball finals, as well as Jennifer Valente’s gold in women's track cycling omnium contest, saw the Americans conclude the Games with 39 golds, while China remained with 38.