Photo: OIS/Simon Bruty
Ramezan Salehihajikolaei has played for the Iranian men’s sitting volleyball team for five editions of the Paralympic Games and since Athens 2004 he has collected three gold medals and two silver medals.
After the four-set win over RPC in the Tokyo 2020 gold medal match at Makuhari Messe Hall on Saturday, the libero shared the key elements that shaped their journey towards winning their seventh successive title in the event.
“The first reason is the unity among the members,” Salehi stated.
“Also, we have won many medals, so we get experience trying to repeat the championships. And we never give up.”
Unity, experience, and perseverance seem to be achievable acts for anyone wanting to win gold but doing it dutifully in training will increase the probability of achieving a goal.
Part of Iran’s training regime includes a 200 days’ practice per year. That is how seven Paralympic gold medals and other international titles are achieved.
“When we set a goal as a championship in the Paralympic Games, we need to do that. It is a necessity to try to train more and more when we are at such leve,” Salehi remarked.
But for the 42-year-old libero, it is also not about being too serious on the court, there also needs to be something or someone that keeps the mood light and he plays a huge part on that.
“I love all the players. I am a very happy man and I try to make all the people happy,” he said.
“Our team is always doing a lot of technical things and we need one person on the team that can make the team members relaxed and happy, so they’re not always worried. The team needs some peacefulness, and I try to do that.”
At Tokyo 2020, a lot of eyes where focused on his 2.45m tall teammate Morteza Mehrzadselakjani, but it is focusing on the goal that kept them on the winning path.
“At first Morteza was very upset that all the attention is going toward him. It bothered him a lot, but he has accepted the situation and tried to adapt himself to it along with the other members of the team,” he explained.
And he is not frustrated with it.
“No never, because we have one goal. We want to reach that goal, and the best way is to unite together.”