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Iranian judoka Nouri focuses on 2024 Paris gold

· 4 min read

Iranian judoka Nouri focuses on 2024 Paris gold

TEHRAN – Iranian Judoka Vahid Nouri is looking forward to win his second gold medal in the 2024 Paralympic Games.

Iranian judoka Nouri focuses on 2024 Paris gold

Nouri has been undefeated since Tokyo, winning gold at the 2022 Asian Para Games in Hangzhou, China, the 2023 IBSA World Games in Birmingham, England, and the 2024 IBSA World Grand Prix in Heidelberg, Germany.

“My goal is to achieve a gold medal at Paris 2024, making it my second consecutive gold in the Paralympics, and I am determined to achieve this goal. I am meticulously planning and preparing for this opportunity,” Nouri said in an interview with   

Yet, despite his laser focus, Nouri almost certainly wouldn’t have made history as Iran’s first-ever Paralympic judo gold medalist were it not for a sliding doors moment: the postponement of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games because of Covid-19. 

“Despite the difficulties caused by the pandemic, it had a positive impact on my sports career,” he explained. “The delay allowed me to undergo surgery on a torn cruciate ligament, which otherwise would have prevented me from participating in the Tokyo Games. 

“This additional year of preparation enabled me to compete in the biggest sports event of my career and aim for the top position. I anticipate Paris to be even more challenging than Tokyo.”

Nouri knows all about overcoming challenges. Born with keratoconus, an eye disorder than leads to the progressive thinning of the cornea, he took up judo as a teenager and it quickly gave him a sense of purpose. 

“My journey with judo has been significantly more successful than my life before it,” the Tehran native said. “Judo has brought me more joy in life than ever before. It has instilled in me a fighting spirit, motivation and improved my overall health.

“I began practicing judo in 2007 and for the last 13 years I have been dedicated to pursuing it professionally. I find it great satisfaction and enjoyment in being part of this sport discipline.

“I dedicate five days a week to training, with two days set aside for rest and recovery. Each day, I spend two hours in the morning at the gym and another two hours in the evening for specialized judo training.  

“Both bodybuilding and fitness exercises are crucial, alongside technical practices in judo, as the sport requires endurance and speed. It's important to focus on these factors in training.

“Typically, blind judo teams in the Para division have a small number of athletes. Many successful countries, such as Great Britain, France, Kazakhstan, Georgia, Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan, train alongside Olympians. 

“Training with non-disabled athletes can be challenging but beneficial for improving technical skills, enabling better competition against Para athletes on the judo mat.

“Securing the first judo gold medal for Iran in Paralympic history was a source of immense pride. This achievement not only inspired other Paralympic judokas in Iran but also served as a source of inspiration for our Olympic athletes, demonstrating the potential for success in various international competitions.” 

Nouri, too, is confident of gold in Paris, despite having to lose 5kgs to make the weight for his category in Tokyo. “I had made the decision to retire after the Tokyo Games but there was a change in the weight categories for judo, which led me to reconsider. Now, with my change to a higher category [+90kg], I no longer need to lose weight, which has made me happier. My results have improved.”

“I had previous experience of competing in front of large crowds and fans at various events. I am looking forward to the presence of many spectators at the arena in Paris, as I believe it will greatly boost my motivation. 

“While personally my goal is to win a medal and raise my country’s flag, on a national level, it is to showcase Iran’s high level of Para judo for all to see.

“Our success in winning two gold medals in Tokyo led to a resurgence of interest in Para judo in Iran. This brought greater attention to our discipline and earned us respect within society, resulting in heightened expectations for us.”