Iran Fajr International 2013
The Iran Fajr International 2013
Even though it is a long trip from Canada to Iran, Charmaine and I did not want to miss the opportunity to compete in the Iran International, as it is fun playing in Tehran and we also have good memories from the years before.
When we left the plane in Tehran we had to put on our head scarves, as it is a law in Iran that women have to wear a head scarf and dress appropriate in public.
While we were competing, men were not allowed to watch; therefore we were able to play in our normal outfits. Even male coaches were not allowed in the gym while their female players were playing.
We started the tournament in singles, which we used to get a good warm-up for the doubles. Both of us had a good game against a Malaysian player, I played over an hour and lost very close in a rubber set. Actually, it was o.k. losing in the singles early, as women only played in the morning, which would have been a tough schedule playing in two events.
In doubles Charmaine and I beat teams from India and Turkey to reach the finals against Malaysia. As we already won silver and a bronze medal before, we were hoping to add a gold medal to our collection this time but Malaysia made it hard for us as they had a good day with virtually perfect serves, strong attack and hardly any mistakes. After playing good rallies we came up short and had to settle for the silver medal, 18-21, 15-21.
The higher altitude in Tehran, 1200m above sea level, did not really bother us as we are use to a high altitude in Calgary. It makes the workouts a bit harder and actually it makes the speed of the shuttlecocks much faster. Therefore it is a bit more challenging than other tournaments.
What bothered us even more was the air pollution in Tehran. Usually you are able to see the mountains around the city but due to the pollution you could hardly see them. Over 12 million people are living in Tehran, which is the fifth largest city globally. The traffic was unbelievable and it seems like there are no rules at all. Even crossing a green light is dangerous as people donít care and drive no matter what color appears. It did not hold us off from walking from the hotel to the hall a few times a day.
The atmosphere in the hall was fantastic and it was a lot of fun to play in front of a big crowd. We knew most of the spectators from the years before and their support during the tournament was just incredible.
Iranian people are very friendly and hospitable and quite a few invited us for lunch, dinner or coffee. We enjoyed our time with them and had an extraordinary time in Tehran.