Rio de Janeiro, Aug 7 (IANS) The march-past of Iran’s contingent at the Rio Olympics opening ceremony has become one of the highlights of the event as wheelchair-bound archer Zahra Nemati, already qualified to compete at both the 2016 Summer Olympics and Paralympics, carried her country’s flag at the Maracana Stadium.

The 31-year-old Zahra has become one of the very few athletes who have qualified to compete at both the Games simultaneously, reports Xinhua.

She is the second archer to qualify for both Games in the same year following former Italian archer Paola Fantato in 1996.

Zahra is making her first appearance at the Summer Olympics in the ongoing Games at Rio.

She has a black belt in taekwondo, but a car accident in 2003 set her on a new sporting path, archery, after leaving her paralysed.

Zahra Nemati
Zahra Nemati

Zahra was selected to compete for Iran at the 2012 Summer Paralympics in London, where she won two medals in archery, becoming the first Iranian woman to win a gold medal at either the Olympic or Paralympic Games.

“I had a dream to be in the Olympics as I was doing taekwondo before my accident,” she said on Saturday.

“Now, this dream came true through archery.”

    The IANS was founded by Indian American publisher Gopal Raju as the India Abroad News Service. It was later renamed the Indo-Asian News Service.

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