On Tuesday, the IFCPF announced they had invited Iran to fill the spot left empty following Russian’s removal from the 2016 Summer Paralympics in Rio. Iran will head to the Games as reigning 2008 and 2012 Summer Paralympics bronze medalists.
The IFCPF’s statement about Iran’s selection highlighted the fact that Iran had difficulty in qualifying because visa issues prevented them from participating in the 2015 IFCPF World Championships. The lack of Asian teams also meant Iran could not qualify through a regional qualifier as such a tournament would not have been viable. The country had finished fourth at the 2014 Para Asian Games.
The lack of competition opportunities because of exigent circumstances tanked Iran’s world ranking. They currently sit at number 12 in the world, one behind Portugal and one ahead of Northern Ireland. Russia in contrast had been ranked number two in the world, having participated in the 2012 Summer Paralympics, 2014 Intercontinental Cup, 2014 IFCPF European Championships, and the 2015 IFCPF World Championships.