Man, 100, Is Competing for Diving Title

Iran's Taghi Askari will be oldest competitor at World Aquatics Masters Championships in Doha
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 13, 2024 7:39 AM CST

You have to be at least 25 (30 for water polo) to participate in the World Aquatics Masters Championships starting next week—but hitting the age minimum is one thing that competitor Taghi Askari won't have to worry about. The Iranian centenarian (he's exactly 100 years old) is set to take the diving platform in Doha, Qatar, decades after he last competed on a national level and won a gold medal at age 41, making him the oldest competitor at the event, per CNN.

In a FINA interview cited by the Sporting News, Askari reveals that he started swimming as a boy in a pool at his childhood home, and he was soon intrigued by seeing other kids in his neighborhood jump and somersault into the water. "I was very interested to do the same things," he says. At the very first Asian Games, held in 1951, Askari brought home silver and bronze medals, and he also went on to win national titles.

His undying love of the sport kept him in the water all those years. "Nothing has changed between 1951 and now, except my performance," he tells World Aquatics, per CNN. And just to show he's still got it, Askari, aka Iran's "Grandfather of Diving," did an exhibition dive on Friday, with the FINA interviewer telling him before he plunged into the water: "Let's see what you've still got at 100!" The dive went off without a hitch, and an emotional Askari was seen receiving a medal afterward. The championship event starts Feb. 23 and runs through March 3. (More diving stories.)

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