Morteza Mehrzad – the world’s second-tallest man – helps guide Iran to Paralympic gold in sitting volleyball as the Games’ tallest competitor EVER at 8ft 1in inspires his nation to a 3-1 win over Russian Paralympic Committee
- Iran won the final 25-21, 25-14, 19-25, 25-17 on Saturday in the Japanese capital
- The gold medal is the Asian country’s seventh in the sport at the Paralympics
- Earlier on Saturday, Bosnia-Herzegovina overcame Brazil, also 3-1, for bronze
The world’s second-tallest man Morteza Mehrzad has inspired Iran’s sitting volleyball team to gold at the Tokyo Paralympics.
Mehrzad, all of 8ft1, helped the Iranians defeat the Russian Paralympic Committee 3-1 in the gold medal match on Saturday in the Japanese capital.
The tallest Paralympian in history, by a distance, helped guide them to a 25-21, 25-14, 19-25, 25-17 win and continue their recent domination of the sport.
Morteza Mehrzad (centre) helped inspire Iran to gold in the sitting volleyball on Saturday
The 8ft1 star (above) is the second-tallest man in the world and the tallest Paralympian ever
Iran has won six of the last eight gold medals in the men’s competition, and the addition of the 2.46m 33-year-old phenomenon gave the country a special weapon in a sport where the net is 1.15m off the ground.
After seeing off powerhouses Bosnia and Herzegovina in the semi-finals, Mehrzad scored an almighty 28 points in the final, helping secure their 11th gold of the Games despite dropping their first set in five matches.
He started playing after Iran coach Hadi Rezaeigarkani got in contact when he watched him on a TV programme about physical disorders. He took up the sport nine years ago, made his international debut five years ago, and never looked back.
Iran have won six of the last eight gold medals in the men’s game and secured another Paralympic title after beating the Russian Paralympic Committee 25-21, 25-14, 19-25, 25-17
Mehrzad has already helped Iran to gold in Rio and to a world championship back in 2018
Mehrzad has acromegaly, a condition where one’s body produces too much growth hormone, and is often on crutches or in a wheelchair after damaging his pelvis in a cycling accident which means his right leg is six inches shorter than his left.
According to the Telegraph, he would hide himself away in his hometown Chalus in north Iran due to shame; the Paralympics has therefore offered him a powerful opportunity.
He said: ‘Due to my impairment, I was very depressed. I felt like I was in prison – I was afraid to go outside due to my appearance. I could never imagine a future for myself. But sitting volleyball has had an immense impact on my life.’