1127 GMT January 22, 2018
Iran’s newly-appointed weightlifting coach said he would do his best to help Behdad Salimi make an ambitious return to the competitions.
“Despite the incidents at the 2017 world championships in the US and all that Salimi went through, I believe he’s still got what it takes to compete until 2020 Tokyo Olympics,” Mohammad-Hossein Barkhah told IRNA on Tuesday.
“He is a clever and well-experienced athlete, so he must put all his efforts into adding to his glory,” new coach added.
Speaking about Kianoush Rostami, Barkhah said, “I truly wish Rostami could become the most decorated Iranian weightlifter of all time by winning the gold at 2020 Olympics.
“We need to reach an appropriate solution regarding his situation so that both Iran’s weightlifting and Kianoush would benefit from,” Barkhah added.
Rostami has been refusing to take part in Iran’s national team training camps since before the 2016 Rio Olympics – where he won the men’s -85kg gold – as he decided he would do better self-coached.
Citing the tough year that awaits Iranian weightlifting, Barkhah said, “Our first major competition will be the 2018 Asian Games in August. Then we will have to prepare for the world championships in Turkmenistan in November.
“It is going to be a crucial tournament since it will also be the first qualification competition for the Tokyo Olympics.”