Taghi Askari, a 100-year-old Iranian athlete, prepares to dive at the World Aquatics Masters Championships in Doha, Qatar. His passion for diving began as a teenager and has continued throughout his life. He won medals at the Asian Games and national titles in Iran and is currently one of the oldest competitors in the upcoming championships.
“For me, I have had a love of diving since I was a teenager until today. I have always loved diving. Nothing has changed between 1951 and now, except my performance!” Askari told World Aquatics. He first encountered diving at a swimming pool near his childhood home in Iran where other children were somersaulting into the water.
Since then, Askari has won numerous medals at both the national and international level, including two golds at the Asian Games in 1974 and 1978. However, he retired from competitive diving after achieving his last gold medal at age 41.
The sport of diving has evolved significantly since Askari’s retirement. “By the time the games were in Tehran in 1974 the Chinese swimmers had entered this beautiful sport and they started to improve by a lot – we just couldn’t catch them as we stayed at the same level we started at,” he said. Nevertheless, Askari is excited to be back competing on an international stage once again.
The World Aquatics Masters Championships are held shortly after the elite world championships open to participants aged over 25 years old. It will be interesting to see how much progress has been made since Askari’s retirement and whether he can still compete with some of