“Since London 2012, I’ve found more friends and further motivation.”
It’s been a year since archer Zahra Nemati claimed Iran’s first-ever Olympic or Paralympic gold, but the 28-year-old said the size of her smile is still increasing by the day nearly 12 months later.
She just can’t wipe it off her face and keeps racking up award after award in addition to giving speeches around her country, which she said is now one of her major responsibilities as a successful athlete in the Paralympic Movement.
“Since London 2012, I’ve found more friends and further motivation,” she said. “I always aspire to see people happy, and their affection toward me after these Games proved that I could deliver their mission, so I feel delighted and satisfied.”
At London 2012, Nemati set a Paralympic record on her way to gold in the women's individual recurve W1/W2, and she also picked up a bronze medal in the women's team recurve open.
Her success resulted in significant media coverage back home and inspired other women to take up para-sport, particularly archery.
“Coming home, I faced joyful, cheerful people,” Nemati said. “Tears came down my eyes when I entered Kerman city with people welcoming my coming to home.”
Earlier this year, Nemati won an individual award at the SportAccord Spirit of Sport Awards in St. Petersburg, Russia – an accolade that commends the commitment and humanitarian spirit of athletes who have made an exceptional and lasting contribution to using sport as a tool for positive social change.
On Wednesday (4 September), Nemati was named one of five finalists for the IPC’s Best Female Athlete for the 2013 Parlaympic Sport Awards, which will take place in Athens, Greece in November and are proudly partnered by the IPC’s International Partner Allianz.
“The honours could not have been achieved without support from my husband and coach,” Nemati said. “I also thank NPC Iran for their continued support.
“I will now restart my training to achieve more honours for my country,” she said. “If God’s willing, I expect more gold medals in future.”