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Women High Jump National Record Is Broken After 23 Years

It was an insignificant "other" news in the football-afflicted Iran. So insignificant that Kayhan Varzeshi, the most circulated sport magazine in Iran, did not even report it. The other magazine, Donyay-e Varzesh, that actually reported it was content with a short clip while in that very same issue it included a two-page full-color insert that showed Shaq flying over the basket in the air while Rodman was watching him in despair. The English letters in red mentioned the names of these two flamboyant NBA basketball players.

Iran's 23-year-old record in women's high jump was broken three weeks ago during the national women track and field championships at the Azadi Sports Complex in Tehran.

Maryam Sedarati setting the 1.60-meter record in 1973

Maryam Sedarati getting ready for the 1.60-meter jump

Padideh Bolourizadeh from Tehran jumped 1.64 meters (5 feet, 4 1/2 inches) to erase Maryam Sedarati's 1.60-meter record she had set in the summer of 1973 in Tehran. Bolourizadeh is from the province of Tehran. No picture, no interview, no highlights, but it happened and the record was confirmed and registered by the Iranian Track and Field Federation as the new national record.

There was also a report that Bolourizadeh had broken the national long jump record by 10 centimeters which previously belonged to herself. The new record was reportedly 5.69 meters. There might have been an error in this report, because in the 1974 Asian Games, Touran Shadpour had jumped 5.72 meters, which was then a new national record.

In high jump Panthea Ghiasi jumped 1.55 meters and took the second place. She is the daughter of Teymour Ghiasi, the famous Iranian high jumper and past Asian record holder in early seventies.

Sedarati and Ghiasi in 1973 during a practice in the old Amjadieh Stadium
Teymour Ghiasi set a new Asian record during the 1974 Asian Games held in Tehran which earned him a Gold medal. He jumped 2.21 meters defeating Ni Chi Chin of China who was the world record holder with 2.29 meters. In Asian Games Ni Chi Chin jumped only 2.16 meters.

Teymour Ghiasi's record would have earned him a Silver medal in the 1972 Munich Olympic and a Bronz medal in the 1976 Montreal Olympic. His record was, and still is, the only record in the history of track and field in Iran that was among the world top 10 ranking records. Teymour Ghiasi has an older son by the name of Alireza who is also a high jumper. Alireza's best jump has been 2.08 meters. The veteran Ghiasi is also the headcoach of the Iranian Youth National Track and Field team. In Montreal he could not clear 2.15 meters due to the rain and did not pass the preliminaries.

Another national record that was broken in the women national championships was Iran's Heptathlon (haft-ganeh in Persian). Ziba Babaei from province of Khouzestan set a new record of 3,304 points to erase her own personal record of 3,145.5 points she had set last year. She also took the first place in the Javelin Throw although she was not able to set a new record in this event.

Tehran won the team championships with 111.5 points, followed by provinces of Fars with 93.5 and Khouzestan with 65 points. There were a total of thirteen teams in eighteen events. Other participating provinces were Hamadan, Kermanshah, Esfahan, Hormozgan, Azerbaijan, Zanjan, Mazandaran, Guilan and Lorestan. Leila Farahi from Fars took the title of Champions of Chmapions with 3 gold, 1 silver and 1 bronz medals.

While we did not have any pictures from the recent championships, we could find several track and field pieces from our archives. Maryam Sedarati was Iran's main high jumper in the 60's and 70's. After setting the 1.60-meter record in the summer of 1973, she took a bronz medal in the 1973 Asian Track and Field Championships held in Manila, Philippines. She jumped 1.58 meters which equalled the silver medalist Chay Gladis Negmi from Malaysia, but the Malaysian jumper had less faults. The Israeli Oriet Abramvich took the first place jumping 1.68 meters. Sedarati goes into history as the only Iranian woman who has ever obtained a medal in an international track and field event. Hers was the story of perseverance and consistency mixed with hard work and personal challenge.
A historic standing for the women of Iran. Sedarati with her bronz medal in 1973 Asian Track and Field Championships

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