Taghi Askari, a 100-year-old Iranian athlete, prepares for his exhibition dive at the 2024 World Aquatics Masters Championships in Doha, Qatar. The World Aquatics Masters Championships are being held shortly after the elite world championships and are open to participants aged over 25.
Askari has had a lifelong love of diving, which began when he was a teenager at a swimming pool near his childhood home in Iran. He went on to win medals at the Asian Games and national titles in Iran.
“When I was competing at a national level the last championships I did was when I was 41 years old,” he said. “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.”
The sport of diving has changed hugely since Askari began diving. “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,” he said.
Despite his age, Askari remains passionate about diving and is excited to be among the competitors at the World Aquatics Masters Championships. For him, nothing has changed between 1951 and now except his performance!