Shirzanan–Foad Khaknejad: It is 8 o’clock at night. I am seating in front of the Hotel Olympic, across from a woman who is the most honorable Iranian female runner. People who pass us to get into the hotel respectfully greet her. She is smiling and active. She is a women’s track and field champion. You can watch the video of this interview in Farsi HERE.
Padide means Phenomenon; how did you become such a wonder?
I started with Swimming and Gymnastics. From the age of 7 I was introduced to track and field. I became a volleyball player with my mother’s encouragements.
What made you want to be an athlete; in our country girls are less drawn to sports compare to boys?
My mother is an athlete. She was both a runner and volleyball player. She was a track and field referee and she believed that everyone should learn the athletics as a base for sports. So I started with Swimming and track and fields.
When did you start running?
My gymnastic class was next to the running tracks. I hate gymnastics. One day I ran from the class and went to the running tracks. My mom then registered me for the track and fields.
Did you face any obstacles in your way?
When I was a kid there were no sports facilities for women. I remember when they close the doors of Shahid Keshvary’s gymnasium to women. My mother and a couple of other women protested and asked the manager to give women athletes two hours a day and until today from 2 to 4 pm the gymnasium is only open to women.
What about people, you neighbors and others?
Since my parents were always supportive there were no problems with the public. But my father believes that sports are good until a certain age and then I should start my own life and get married. My father once could see my race in the Islamic countries championship. I carried the torch and he was crying. It was the last time he ever came to my games.
Is he passed away? What happened?
A: Yes he passed away 10 days to the West Asian Championship. I attended the competitions and I go to the first place and third place in my competitions.
What do you wish for in your athletic career?
I never aimed to become a champion; the most important thing for me is always the spirit of sports. I love to become an international track and field’s coach.