Mohsen Shadi Naghadeh of
Iran, after winning silver in the
lightweight men’s single sculls at
the 2008 World Rowing Under 23
Championships in Brandenburg,
© 2009 Julian Finney/Getty Images
Guilan province in the city of Bandar Anzali
and also in the Golestan province.
reality, Naghadeh will be one of three medals for
Iran internationally in 2010.
Current head coach of the Tehran Rowing Club
Afshin Farzam says the national team athletes are
at the centre for just some of the year. At present
he has 20 national team rowers training with him
as part of their sweep rowing programme; half
of them are full-time athletes. Farzam came to
rowing four years ago when he attended the first
FISA coaching course in Iran. Previously he was
a member of the kayak and canoe polo national
team. Now rowing is Farzam’s focus.
Apart from its lack of visibility, rowing in Iran is also
hindered by the lack of places to row and, like other
sports in the country, it also faces the restrictions
imposed by the Islamic government.
After the Iranian Revolution of 1979 women
were not able to compete in international sports
competitions as having male judges and spectators
made it impossible. But this changed in the early
1990s when there was some relaxation of dress
codes. Although initially Iranian women stuck to
sports with limited movement like archery and
shooting, sports like rowing are possible as long
as there is dress code compliance.
Mohsen Shadi Naghadeh
holding Iran’s first international
gold medal in rowing at the
2009 World Rowing U23
Championships in Racice,
Farzam says rowing is far from well-known in Iran.
This is despite the success of Naghadeh who
at 21 already is an under-23 World Champion.
Naghadeh also took a silver medal at the World
Rowing Under 23 Championships in 2008 after
just 10 months in the sport. Naghadeh attributes
his strength to his farming background and gave
him the nickname ‘strong as a bullock.’ He has
already competed, along with Hosseini, at the
Olympic Games and, if Farzam’s hopes become
Being at the very early stages of
development, there is every indication that
rowing in Iran will continue to grow.