A 100-year-old Iranian diver was met with torrents of support when he stepped up to the springboard at the World Aquatics Championships Diving Competition, to promote the 2024 World Aquatics Masters Championships.
The Islamic Republic of Iran’s Taghi Askar reportedly wiped away tears after a supportive crowd showed their appreciation for him at the Diving World Championships currently taking place in Doha, Qatar.
Askar dived from the one-meter platform ahead of the women’s three-meter springboard diving competition which took place yesterday (February 9) in an effort to promote the World Aquatic Masters Championships taking place at the same venue, the Hamad Aquatics Center, which begins in two weeks.
Askar will be competing at the championships, and it has been 73 years since he took home silver and bronze medals at the inaugural Asian Games in New Delhi in 1951, and 59 years since he officially retired.
100-year-old diver Taghi Askar performs a special dive at Aqua Doha 2024https://t.co/ob73fXz3gu
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He reportedly left the sport on a good note, telling World Aquatics, “When I was competing at a national level the last championships I did was when I was 41 years old. 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.”
Askar followed the development of the sport even after retiring, and maintained a great passion for it. “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,” added Askar, “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.”
China has dominated the sport for some time, winning seven of the eight diving gold medals at Tokyo 2020 with a silver in the other. The Chinese divers also placed one-two in all four individual events in Japan, and have gained seven golds and two silvers in Doha so far.
The World Aquatics Masters Competition
Askar is back however, to participate in the World Aquatics Masters Championships taking place from February 23 to March 3, and is excited to be promoting the event in Doha.
The 100-year-old diver completed his promotional dive in front of today’s leading athletes in the sport, and he was subsequently given a medal by World Aquatics President Captain Husain Al Musallam, another moment which brought him to tears.
“For me, I have had a love of diving since I was a teenager until today,” he said, “I have always loved diving. Nothing has changed between 1951 and now, except my performance.”
The oldest athlete entering the contest, Askar shared his secret of longevity in diving, “The only thing I want to tell you is about loving this sport, and to keep yourself healthy.”