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Paralympic Archer Nemati Named Athlete of Month

Paralympic Archer Nemati Named Athlete of MonthParalympic Archer Nemati Named Athlete of Month

Two-time Paralympic Champion Zahra Nemati has been picked as the winner of the International Paralympic Committee’s Allianz Athlete of the Month award for September.

The 32-year-old Iranian archer won September’s award after reclaiming her women’s recurve title at the World Archery Para Championships in Beijing, China, a title she last won in Bangkok in 2013, Mehr News Agency reported.

The World Archery Federation has described Nemati as a successful archer and role model for women’s empowerment through sport.

As described by the official website of the Paralympic Movement, Paralympic.org, Nemati is arguably the most popular and successful female Paralympian to come from Iran.

She secured for Iran a berth in the Rio 2016 Paralympics as well as Olympics following her performance at the 2015 Asian Archery Championships in Bangkok.

The last archer to compete in both games in the same year was Italy’s Paola Fantato at Atlanta 1996. But not only did Nemati compete at the Olympics, she also carried the Iranian flag during the opening ceremony.

In the Paralympics, she successfully defended her title from London 2012, where she became the first Iranian woman to win gold at the Paralympic and the Olympic Games.

In June 2014, Nemati travelled to New York to address a United Nations panel called “Sports for inclusive development: Empowering persons with disabilities through sport.”

  From Taekwondo to Archery

Nemati had a black belt in taekwondo before an accident in 2004 left her with a spinal-cord injury.

Two years after the accident, she took up archery and quickly proved that her impairment could not create limitations.

Barely six months after taking up the sport, she took part in her first national championships, competing alongside able-bodied archers and finished third. As a result, she was invited to join the national archery team and has won a medal in all championships ever since.

During a two-year period competing with able-bodied archers, she won individual bronze and team silver and bronze medals in Asian competitions. In her first appearance in Para archery at the 2010 Czech Republic Championships, she broke the world record while winning a number of medals in individual and team events.

At the 2011 Archery World Championships in Torino, Italy, she broke the world record in four distances.

In 2013, Nemati won an individual award at the SportAccord Spirit of Sport Awards in St. Petersburg, Russia - an accolade that commends the commitment and humanitarian spirit of athletes who have made an exceptional and lasting contribution to using sport as a tool for positive social change.

She was also the winner of the Bangkok 2013 World Archery Para Championships. Nemati was named Para archer of 2016 by the World Archery Federation.

 

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