Iran’s Paralympic gold and bronze medal-winning archer Zahra Nemati has been presented with the individual 2013 SportAccord Spirit of Sport Award here today.
The 28-year-old Nemati broke a world record on her way to becoming Iran’s first female athlete to win an Olympic or Paralympic gold medal at London 2012, and has inspired many in the country to take up Para-archery as a result of her success, it is claimed.
“This is great and proud honor for me and my country,” she said after the award at the SportAccord International Convention here today.
“I am very glad as an Iranian woman that I am representing all Paralympians from all over the world in receiving this award.
“I hope I can be a deserved representative for the whole Paralympic Movement.”
Nemati was a black-belt in taekwondo before she suffered a spinal cord injury as a result of an earthquake in 2004.
She took up archery following her injury, and made the national team just six months later after finishing third in the national championships against able-bodied archers, going on to win a medal in every championships she has competed in since.
Nemati received glowing praise from representatives of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), the World Archery Federation (FITA) and the Iranian Paralympic Committee following the presentation of the award.
“On behalf of the whole Paralympic Movement I’d like to congratulate Zahra on winning this prestigious award.” said IPC chief Xavier Gonzalez.
“To be Iran’s first female gold medal winner is a historic achievement and I am delighted that her stunning performances in recent years, especially in London, have acted as an inspiration for many Iranian women to take up Para-archery.”
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