The World Aquatics Masters Championships will shortly bring together some of the best masters athletes from around the world including a 100 year-old diver from Iran, Taghi Askar.
Seventy-three years since diving to a silver and bronze medal at the inaugural Asian Games in New Dehli, Iran’s Taghi Askari will once again take to the springboard, this time at the World Aquatics Masters Championships in Doha at the age of 100.
The oldest competitor at the championships, Askari will perform a dive before tonight’s Women’s 3m Springboard final at the Hamad Aquatic Centre to mark the two-week countdown to the world’s largest masters aquatics competition.
Earlier this week Askari told World Aquatics that he had given away the sport as a forty-one-year-old but was returning to dive in Doha due to his love of the sport.
“When I was competing at a national level the last championships I did was when I was 41 years old,” said Askari.
“I achieved a gold medal at the national level, and after that, I said goodbye to the sport, but at least with a gold medal.”
Askari’s international diving career commenced at the Asian Games in New Dehli at the very first staging of the competition which has grown from 489 athletes competing in six sports in 1951 to 11,935 athletes competing across forty disciplines at the 2022 edition.
Asked about his thoughts of the evolution of the sport, Askari is quick to note that he has the same love that he had all those years ago as a teenager.
“The first time I attended the Asian Games in New Delhi in 1951 the level of diving in Iran was very high and I achieved two medals,” said Askari.
“But 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.”
“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!”
As to advice for those competing at the World Aquatics Masters Championships in two weeks, or for those considering joining the championships at Singapore 2025, Askari tells World Aquatics there are two key fundamentals.
“The only thing I want to tell you is about loving this sport and to keep yourself healthy. This can be a good motivation for you to attend these championships and different championships.”