Morteza Mehrzadselakjani17 September 1987
- LATEST TRIUMPHS:
- Rio 2016 Paralympic Games - Gold
Morteza Mehrzadselakjani holds many titles.
At a staggering 2.46m tall, those include Iran’s tallest man, the world’s second tallest man and tallest athlete ever to compete at a Paralympics. However, the one that he is most proud of is Paralympic champion.
With his involvement, Iran returned to the top of the Paralympic podium in Rio after eight years following a 3-1 victory over defending champions Bosnia and Herzegovina. He was the competition’s second best spiker as Iran won their sixth Paralympic gold in the last eight Games.
Towering over his team-mates, Mehrzad, as he is known, has been a revelation on court making an already strong Iranian team even better.
With a highest block reach of 1.96m and highest spike reach of 2.30m, coaches from opposing teams have had to rethink their strategies as a result of his presence on court.
Mehrzad took up sitting volleyball in 2011, when a coach spotted him on television and identified his raw potential thanks to his overwhelming height advantage. After playing for various club sides, he was called up to the national side in March 2016 and has not looked back since.
He was diagnosed with acromegaly, a condition that stems from excessive growth hormone. Mehrzad normally uses a wheelchair or crutches to get around as a result of a serious pelvis fracture suffered in a bicycle accident as a 15-year-old.
The injury caused his right leg to stop growing, and it is now six inches shorter than his left leg.