a male sitting volleyball player attempts a block

Morteza Mehrzadselakjani

Sitting Volleyball

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 two that he is most proud of are world and Paralympic champion.

With his involvement, Iran regained the world title after eight years in Netherlands, in 2018. With Mehrzadselakjani at his dominant best, Iran beat defending champions Bosnia and Herzegovina 3-0 (25-18, 25-13, 25-20) in the final.

He also helped Iran return to the top of the Paralympic podium at Rio 2016 after eight years following a 3-1 victory over title-holders 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 teammates, 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.


Unit Date Rank
Rio 2016 Paralympic Games (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Men's Sitting Volleyball Pool B 2016-09-10 1
Men's Sitting Volleyball Pool B 2016-09-12 4
Men's Sitting Volleyball Pool B 2016-09-14 6
Men's Sitting Volleyball Pool B - Standings 2016-09-14 1
Men's Sitting Volleyball Semifinal 2016-09-16 202
Men's Sitting Volleyball Gold Medal Match 2016-09-18 101
Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games (Tokyo, Japan)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Men Group B 2021-08-28 2
Men Group B 2021-08-30 3
Men Group B 2021-08-31 5
Men Semifinal 2021-09-02 1
Men Gold Medal Match 2021-09-04 1