“There are so many good powerlifters in Iran, and it’s because of the climate of the country and the regular training camps that are organised by our committee. Talent scouts are always looking out for the young and gifted Para athletes who are enthusiastic about this sport.”
Alongside China and Egypt, Iran rules the Paralympic powerlifting world. The country has an impressive three world records in the men’s field, with Roohollah Rostami dominating the up to 72kg, and Majid Farzin setting the standard for the up to 80kg.
But the most popular name, and the man able to lift more weight than anyone else in powerlifting, is, of course, Siamand Rahman.
“There are so many good powerlifters in Iran, and it’s because of the climate of the country and the regular training camps that are organised by our committee,” said Rahman, currently in training for the World Championships in Nur-Sultan in July.
“In addition, talent scouts are always looking out for the young and gifted Para athletes who are enthusiastic about this sport. I can say that training sessions in our national team are more intense than any other team in the world, too.”
The system certainly seems to be working well for Rahman, who lifted an incredible 310kg to take Rio 2016 Paralympic gold. He is also London 2012 Paralympic champion, and won gold at the Dubai 2014 World Championships.
He is not finished yet, either. Rahman’s to-do list include 2019 World Championship gold, a historic third straight Paralympic title, and a fresh world record, too. At his peak aged 31, do not bet against him getting close to 335kg – the best lift of all time for either able-bodied or Para lifters.
“I am feeling good, and I’m looking forward to the championships, then Tokyo 2020 and hoping to make another world record in the Paralympics,” he said.
“Attending the competitions in Kazakhstan is very important to me. It is a prerequisite of Tokyo 2020, and that is my concern.
“I want to make sure I secure my Tokyo 2020 slot first in Kazakhstan – and then win a medal. It’s all about getting prepared for the Paralympics.
“I am so excited to compete for the third time in Paralympic Games. I will give my all in Tokyo to set a new world record even better than Rio 2016, to make my fans happy and proud.”
It is the Paralympics that dominate his day-to-day thoughts, even a year out from competition.
“London was one of the greatest events I have ever attended, I had unprecedented and unique feelings,” the Iranian said.
“My first appearance was coincided with a gold medal, which was so thrilling. London hosted such a great Games. And at Rio, when I set the record, I could finally achieve what I was aiming at, with the help of my coaches.”
Rahman got into powerlifting after attending a gym as a student.
“One of the coaches at gym introduced me to the National Paralympic Committee, and after a while I was invited to the national team.
“I worked hard, day and night, to make progress. At first I could lift 120kg, and now it is over 300kg! I always thank God that I am part of the Paralympic family.”
Now he feels he can be a role model for others in the sport who has made him who he is.
“I am positively influenced by this sport, and it has changed my personal life. I always thank God when I see I can be a role model for the young people. I’m so glad I can make my country proud through this sport. I want to keep improving, keep the right diet, and follow my coaches’ instructions, so I can win again.”