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Paralympic Games: Khodayari is first Iranian woman to win medal in global meet

ATHENS, 25 September, - Twenty-four-year-old Ajam Khodayari made history Saturday by becoming the first Iranian woman to win a medal at a global competition in Paralympic Games in Athens.

Khodayari threw a personal best of 24.86m to win the bronze medal in the women's discus throw - F56-58. It was an improvement of more than two-and-a-half metres over her best prior performance. Furthermore, it beat the existing world record for F57 athletes that had been set earlier this year by Nadia Medjmedj (ALG) of 24.70m. But Li Ling (CHN), also an F57 classified athlete, threw 24.95m to claim the silver medal and the world record.

But nothing can dull Khodayari's joy at having achieved such a momentous performance.

""I have never dreamed of today's success. I didn't dream of this medal," she said following the competition. "I am very proud about it and I am sure that I did it with God's help. God helped me to come here to Athens and compete with the other athletes."

Married but without children, Khodayari lives in a small town called Zanjan, about 250 kilometres from the capital of Tehran. She competed wearing the traditional dress of Islamic women and hopes that her performance will inspire other Iranian women to, not only participate in sports, but also win medals.

"This medal is so important for me because I knew that Iranian women have great ability for success in sports and especially in Athletics," she says. "This competition gave to all women great self-confidence and for all of them I will work harder for the gold medal in Beijing, four years from now."

... Payvand News - 9//26/04 ... --

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