**RESTRICTIONS: NO Access Israel Media/Persian Language TV Stations Outside Iran/Strictly No Access BBC Persian/VOA Persian/Manoto-1 TV/Iran International** Note: Music at source may be subject to copyright
Following a devastating motorcycle accident in his teens, Mehran Beirami was by his own admission down and out. Now 30 and in the shape of his life, the Iranian spoke to RUPTLY following a training session at his gym in Tehran on Monday.
"After the motorcycle accident, I lost my right hand and I went through a very tough time, others treated me with a sense of pity," Beirami said. "I heard all of those words but I didn't listen to them."
Instead of wallowing, Beirami got himself down the gym and worked to get himself into competitive shape. But as it turns out, hard work is sometimes not enough.
"We did all of the paperwork for the visas and embassies. I, and other Iranian athletes, do not know what the relationship between sports and politics is," he said. "We are not allowed to compete in European and American competitions due to visa issues."
With his ambition to go stateside and compete in Europe in the hands of others, Beirami decided to head to Dubai.
"It was the first time that I stood in front of strangers abroad. I was extremely worried but when I realised they have a different perspective towards me, and that they looked at me as a strong person, a competitor, a fighter, it encouraged me to show myself off, to pose better," he said.
Beirami didn't just compete. He won.
"Everyone gave me a standing ovation, I was over the moon," he said with a smile on his face.
**RESTRICTIONS: NO Access Israel Media/Persian Language TV Stations Outside Iran/Strictly No Access BBC Persian/VOA Persian/Manoto-1 TV/Iran International**
Note: Music at source may be subject to copyright