First Female Iranian Competes At ITU World Championships

Shirin Gerami became the first Iranian woman to ever compete in an ITU World Championships on Sunday when she raced in the 25-29 age group.

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Shirin Gerami became the first Iranian woman to ever compete in an ITU Triathlon World Championships on Sunday when she raced in the 25-29 age group at the PruHealth World Triathlon Grand Final London.

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“I think what I was testing was when there’s a will there’s a way and I really wanted to believe in that,” Gerami said of the accomplishment.

To complete the triathlon, Gerami required specific conditions that complied with her desire to race covered. ITU assisted Gerami in entering and exiting the water covered, as well as provided a changing tent in transition in which she could change from her wetsuit to appropriate bike and run gear.

“I had a tent,” Gerami said. “I went into the tent, got my wetsuit off and my clothes to run on. I was a bit slow, so I need to practice more.”

Gerami was first introduced to the idea of competing at a World Championships during a training session the local organizing committee offered to Londoners ahead of the Grand Final. She then decided to apply for approval to represent Iran, even traveling back to Iran to ask  for the permission, returning just a day before her Olympic-distance race.

“I realized the paper work hadn’t been done and because it hadn’t been done, I wasn’t sure if I could race,” Gerami explained. “But then it (the approval) came through around 9 or 10 pm the night before the race.”

When asked what Germai thought the historic moment meant for Iranians, she said, “I didn’t get a very good time, so what I hope it means is everyone supports me and next time I get to the podium. It’s not only for Iranians, but for anyone that wants to race in clothes that cover, to support them.”

ITU President and IOC Member Marisol Casado said, “Today was a historic day for Iran, a historic day for ITU and certainly a historic day for Shirin. We are delighted she was able to compete today. I hope her performance leads to more Iranian women competing in triathlon, as Shirin showed that triathlon truly is a sport that everyone can do regardless of age or gender.”

Gerami competed alongside another 2,300 age group athletes ahead of the elite men’s race that saw Javier Gomez (ESP) named the World Champion in Hyde Park. The age group event and the men’s elite race closed out the 2013 PruHealth World Triathlon Grand Final.

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