Eight-foot tall Iranian giant begins quest for Paralympic glory

Iranian sitting volleyball player Morteza Mehrzadselakjani towers over his Paralympic teammates. Photo / Twitter
Iranian sitting volleyball player Morteza Mehrzadselakjani towers over his Paralympic teammates. Photo / Twitter

At a staggering 2.46m tall, Iranian athlete Morteza Mehrzadselakjani is the tallest athlete at the Rio 2016 Paralympics.

In addition to this, the 28-year-old, whose birthday is on Saturday, is also the tallest person in the whole of Iran.

Starring in the sport of sitting volleyball, Mehrzad, as he is known, took up the sport five years ago, when a coach spotted him on television and identified his raw potential, thanks to his overwhelming height advantage.

Mehrzad was diagnosed with acromegaly, a condition that stems from excess growth hormone.

Mehrzad normally uses a wheelchair or crutches to get around as a result of a serious pelvis fracture suffered when he was 15 year old, stopping his right leg from growing, making walking difficult.

Playing for the number one-ranked sitting volleyball side in the world, Mehrzad has his sights set on winning Paralympic gold at Rio, following Iran's silver medal effort at London four years ago.

Having defeated China in their opening match of the tournament in straight sets, Mahrzad and Iran face Bosnia and Herzegovina, the team they lost to in the gold medal match at London 2012, and Ukraine in their remaing pool matches before the semifinals take place on Mehrzad's birthday.




- NZ Herald

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