Morteza Mehrzad – the world’s second tallest man at 8ft 1in – helped Iran win gold against the Russian Paralympic Committee in the sitting volleyball final on Saturday
The world’s second-tallest man played a key role to help Iran’s sitting volleyball team win gold at the Tokyo Paralympic Games.
Morteza Mehrzad is 8ft 1in and helped his country defeat the Russian Paralympic Committee 3-1 in the gold medal match on Saturday.
Mehrzad is comfortably the tallest Paralympian in Games history and his team proved to be too high a mountain for their opponents to conquer, winning 25-21 25-14 19-25 25-17 to continue their dominance in the sport.
Iran have remarkably won six of the last eight gold medals in the men’s event – and 2.46m Mehrzad has proven to be a valuable asset.
The 33-year-old towers over the 1.15m net and helped Iran dominate the competition.
They saw off contenders Bosnia and Herzegovina in the semi-finals to set up the final against RPC and Mehrzad scored a stunning 28 points to win gold.
It was the nation’s 11th gold of the Games despite losing their first set in five matches when they dropped the third.
Mehrzad only began playing after Iran coach Hadi Rezaeigarkani contacted him after watching a TV programme about physical disorders and spotted the world’s second-tallest man.
He took up the sport nine years ago and made his international debut five years ago, setting the wheels in motion for a journey that would lead to Paralympic glory.
Mehrzad has acromegaly, a condition where his body produces too much growth hormone, and he is often forced to use crutches or a wheelchair to move around after damaging his pelvis in a cycling accident.
The injuries sustained means his right leg is now six inches shorter than his left, and he would often hide away in his hometown of Chalus in northern Iran due to shame – according to the Telegraph.
However, the Paralympics have allowed him to express himself in a powerful way.
“Due to my impairment, I was very depressed,” Mehrzad told The Telegraph. “I felt like I was in prison – I was afraid to go outside due to my appearance.
“I could never imagine a future for myself, but sitting volleyball has had an immense impact on my life.”