Petroleum Ministry Teams at Rio Games

For its part, Iran’s Ministry of Petroleum dispatched five teams to the Rio games. They did not bag any medals, but their results were not so bad. Here is a review of the athletes sponsored by the Iranian petroleum ministry.

Nima Alamian (table tennis)

Nima Alamian is undoubtedly the phenomenon of Iran’s table tennis. Over recent years, Nima Alamian has left behind his brother Noshad, himself a ping-pong seed, and has brilliant performance in different matches in Iran.

Iran’s table tennis has made significant progress in recent years. But it could not yet be compared with the status of tennis in leading countries. 

Nima Alamian was recognized as the top seed in tennis pro league in Iran last year, when he was with Bandar Imam Petrochemical Plant’s club. He was internationally ranked the 111th when he joined the Rio matches and he was defeated by a Romanian tennis player who is ranked the 78th in the world.

Alamian was unlucky in the games and he was defeated by his rival. Despite having a good performance, he was ousted. However, he has still a good chance to make progress due to his low age. He can now make efforts to compete in future matches. Definitely, the Bandar Imam club’s support has been instrumental in helping Alamian win the top spot in Asia. During the days Iran’s ping-pong federation could not provide sufficient support to athletes due to economic problems, the Bandar Imam club offered to sponsor Nima Alamian and this helped him go to the Rio games.

Qader Mizbani (cycling)

Qader Mizbani is the most experienced cyclist in Iran. In the run-up to the Rio games, Mizbani was intent on giving his place to younger cyclists because of his humbleness, but at the request of the cycling federation he went to Brazil.

Mizbani is officially affiliated with Tabriz Petrochemical Plant’s team and has so far fared well. He was the best choice to represent Iran’s cycling at the Olympics, but it was clear from the very beginning that he could not win any medal at the Rio matches. Mizbani crossing the finish line was enough for Iran’s cycling federation. We should not forget that Mizbani was unlucky too in the matches. Barely had he cycled half of the 204-kilometer distance that his bicycle experienced a technical fault and veered off the road. Mizbani hit the rocks on the margins of the track and he could not continue the match. He had exercised a lot for this competition and results from his performance at the cycling league in Iran indicated the high level of his preparedness. He was one of Iran’s chances for cycling, but he failed. Mizbani, despite his injury, ran in the time trial matches and managed to cross the finish line. He was the first Iranian cyclist to have crossed the finish line at the Olympics matches.

He is unlikely to reach the next Olympics, but he has announced that he has no intention for the time being of bidding farewell to cycling and he plans to continue cycling at the club level with Tabriz Petrochemical Plant’s team.

Reza Qasemi (100 meters)

Iran’s track and field had the highest number of representatives at the 2016 Rio matches.

Reza Qasemi ran for 100-meter dash on behalf of Naft Tehran. A rival to Iran’s 100 meters record holder Hassan Taftian, Qasemi was highly hoped to bag medals. 

Qasemi tried his best to find his way into the final of 100 meters, but his own inexperience and his rough rivals from Jamaica and Africa led to his elimination. Qasemi, 29, clocked 10.47 seconds, but his previous record was 10.14 seconds. Qasemi seemed to have had stress on the day of competition and he could not prove his capacity. But his representation of Iran at the 100 meters in Rio de Janeiro is enough for the time being. Qasemi owes his promotion to Naft Tehran. 

The reigning 100 m Olympic champion is often named “the fastest runner in the world.” The World Championships of 100 meter race has been contested since 1983. 

Jamaicans Usain Bolt and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce are the reigning world champions, Bolt and Elaine Thompson are the Olympic champions in the men’s and women’s 100 meters, respectively.

Hamid-Reza Zouravand (race walk)

Hamid-Reza Zouravand represented Iran in the 10-km race walk at the Olympics games. He found his way to the Rio games after registering a 15 minutes 56 seconds record in Iran.

He was Iran’s first ever representative to Olympics’ 10- kilometer race walk. He was unlucky, but he managed to cross the finish line. He finished 54 among 74 race walkers. He has improved his profile in Iran thanks to support by Naft Tehran. He is expected to improve his performance in coming years.

The 10-kilometer race walk, or 10-kilometer race-walk, is a race-walking event. The event is competed as a road race. Athletes must always keep in contact with the ground and the supporting leg must remain straight until the raised leg passes it. 10 kilometers is 6.21 miles.

It was introduced at the 1912 Summer Olympics in Stockholm for men, and the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona for women. It is no longer an Olympic event for women, having been changed to 20 km in 1999, though it is run in some international competitions.

Pejman Qale-Noei (hammer throw)

Pejman Qale-Noei was another Olympics competitor from Naft Tehran. He ran for hammer throw. He finished second in Iran last year. He berthed a place in Brazil with a record of 77.18 meters. He joined the Rio matches with Kaveh Mousavi, but he was unlucky. On the first day, there was strong wind and Qale-Noei’s first hammer throw hit the net. The hammer was separated from the net several minutes later and this bad luck put him behind.

In his next throws, Qale-Noei could not even achieve his own records and most of his throws were declared faulty by the jury. At the end of the matches, Qale-Noei offered apology to his fans, saying he was to blame for his failure. Like others, he also complained about insufficient facilities and expressed hope for better conditions. 

The hammer throw is one of the four throwing events in regular track and field competitions, along with the discus throw, shot put and javelin.

The men’s hammer weighs 16 pounds (7.26 kg) and measures 3 feet 11 3⁄4 inches (121.3 cm) in length, and the women’s hammer weighs 8.82 lb (4 kg) and 3 ft 11 in (119.4 cm) in length.

Like the other throwing events, the competition is decided by who can throw the implement the farthest.

Although commonly thought of as a strength event, technical advancements in the last 30 years have evolved hammer throw competition to a point where more focus is on speed in order to gain maximum distance.

The throwing motion involves about two swings from stationary position, then three, four or very rarely five rotations of the body in circular motion using a complicated heel-toe movement of the foot. The ball moves in a circular path, gradually increasing in velocity with each turn with the high point of the hammer ball toward the target sector and the low point at the back of the circle. The thrower releases the ball from the front of the circle.

Iran’s Ministry of Petroleum has always been active in helping sports in the country. By attracting sport talents in the country, the ministry has provided financial and moral support to them with a view to contributing to better sport performance in the country. 

The Ministry of Petroleum would have sent more representatives to the Olympics had there been more matches. 

Courtesy of Iran Petroleum 

By Amir Sadeqi-Panah