Iran archer defies odds

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By Staff Reporter in Calcutta
  • Published 17.09.09
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Zahra Nemati at the SAI on Wednesday. A Telegraph picture

Calcutta: Adversity doesn’t dovetail too well with dreams. But some of the greatest stories in sport tell of the romance in the underdog’s struggle against the odds. Zahra Nemati’s story is one such.

The devastating earthquake which struck the Iranian city of Bam, on December 26, 2003 took 26,000 lives and left another 30,000 severely injured. Among those injured was Zahra whose legs were paralysed in the accident, leaving her wheelchair bound.

But that failed to dent her spirit and the 23-year-old confronted life’s challenges in a manner that can inspire many.

Zahra is a key member of Iran’s archery squad and will be participating in the 4th Asian Archery Grand Prix which kicks off Thursday at the Sports Authority of India’s Eastern Campus in Salt Lake.

In Zahra’s case, what is more amazing is that she took to archery only after the accident. Asked why she chose the sport, Zahra said: “I love this sport and that gives me the inspiration. Moreover, as I can’t use my legs, I think archery is the sport which suits me best.”

Zahra, who doesn’t speak English, was interacting via team manager R. Zamaninejad, also said the disability doesn’t come in the way of her performances. “That’s not a problem… I don’t have any problem competing,” she said.

“I started practising archery a couple of years back,” she added.

Zahra is an inspiration for her two sisters who are also into archery. When asked whether she helped out her sisters with their game, she replied that it was not possible since she trained with the national team in Tehran while her sisters lived in a different city.

Zahra, who competes in the recurve section, is a bronze medal winner at the 2nd Asian Grand Prix, which was held in Tehran. She was also in the Iran squad for the Archery World Cup 2nd stage in Croatia.