Aboulfazl Khatibi, a member of Iran’s para-cross-country skiing national team, hopes to shine at the Winter Paralympics in China.
Khatibi and four other Iranian Paralympians have recently been training at Dizin Ski Resort, about 70 km north of Tehran, Iran’s capital, to prepare for their upcoming competitions in China, where the Beijing 2022 Paralympic Winter Games is set to be held in March.
According to Eisa Saveh Shemshaki, the president of Iran’s Ski Association for Disabled, after four-year preparations for 2022 Paralympics, Iran “succeeded in winning two quotas in cross-country skiing and three quotas in snowboard.”
“My wish is to have a good result in Beijing,” said Puriya Khaliltash, a snowboarder who aspired to compete at the Paralympics after losing a hand as a result of an accident.
Khaliltash and teammate Hossein Solghani were the first two male snowboarders representing Iran to compete at the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games.
After South Korea, “I pursued my training with more seriousness and thanks to efforts by Mr. Shemshaki and our coach, we managed to secure another Paralympic berth,” he said.
“I hope all of my teammates and other snowboarders of other countries can achieve a better result and it would be a safe and good competition,” Khaliltash added, referring to his second winter Paralympic journey.
Seyyed Mosayeb Seyd, head coach of Iran’s national para-snowboard team, said compared to the 2018 Pyeongchang Games, this time, “we are in a better condition and hope to be able to put in a better performance.”
“We hope that given the close ties between Iran and China, good competitions would be ahead of us, and we would manage to achieve the best result,” he said.
Elahel Fallah, a cross-country skier with a visual impairment, said that “there have certainly been many difficulties in preparation, but with effort, practice and hope, everything can be easy and we can achieve our goal.”
“We will try to have the best performance, and I will try to show my best performance,” she said.
Regarding the ongoing Beijing Winter Olympics, Shemshaki noted, “every athlete interested in skiing wishes to enter the Olympics, and the peak of athletes’ aspirations are in the Olympics.”
While Iran’s sports channel fully covers the Beijing Winter Olympics, he expressed hope it would cover all the Paralympic competitions as well.
“We hope that our relations with China, our friendly ties in the field of sports, would further improve,” Shemshaki said, adding that China’s modern facilities and equipment can also help Iran develop its ski resorts.
When visiting their training camp at an altitude of over 3,000 meters, Chinese Ambassador to Iran Chang Hua told Iran’s winter Paralympic team on Wednesday that the Winter Paralympics will provide a competitive stage for athletes and a platform for solidarity and friendship.
“I hope your sweat, courage, and persistence will lead to good results and beautiful friendships in the Beijing Paralympic Winter Games,” Chang said.