100-year-old Taghi Askari prepares for his exhibition dive at the 2024 World Championships in Doha on Friday, just two weeks before the World Aquatics Masters Championships. It will be Askari’s first time competing at this level, and he is determined to prove that age is just a number when it comes to diving.
Askari has had a lifelong love of diving, ignited by his first experience 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, but had to say goodbye to the sport after achieving a gold medal at the national level in 1974.
Since then, the sport of diving has changed dramatically. “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,” Askari said. “We just couldn’t catch them as we stayed at the same level we started at.”
Despite these challenges, Askari never lost his passion for diving. He continued to train and compete throughout his life, and now he is ready to take on the world once again. “For me, I have had a love of diving since I was a teenager until today,” he said. “I have always loved diving. Nothing has changed between 1951 and now, except my performance!”
As he stands on the edge of the platform with water rippling below him, Askari knows that he still has what it takes to be a top competitor. He may be older than many of his fellow competitors, but he is determined to show that age is just a number when it comes to diving.