Meet Iran's sitting volleyball star and world's second tallest man

The world’s second-tallest man helps guide Iran into Paralympics sitting volleyball semi-finals – as the Games’ tallest competitor EVER at 8ft 1in – with eyes on a gold medal in Tokyo

  • Iranian sitting volleyball star Morteza Mehrzad is the tallest ever Paralympian
  • The 33-year-old, who stands at 8ft 1in, helped Iran to gold at the 2016 games
  • He has now helped Iran to the semi finals of the 2020 Paralympics in Tokyo
  • Mehrzad was diagnosed with acromegaly which stems from excessive growth 

The Iranian sitting volleyball team are into the semi finals at the Paralympic Games, with the second tallest man in the world playing a part in their success.  

Morteza Mehrzad stands at a massive eight feet and one inch and after helping his country to gold in Rio in 2016, holds the record for the Paralympics tallest ever competitor.

Sitting on the floor his raised arms stretch well over six feet, and he has helped put the team within reach of another medal in Tokyo.

Morteza Mehrzad is the tallest ever Paralympian and second tallest man in the world

Mehrzad towers above his team-mates as the Iranian team line up

Iran are favourites for the competition having made the final every games since the Paralympics in Seoul 1988.

On Tuesday, they sealed their passage into the semi finals after defeating China in straight sets (25-21, 25-22, 25-14).

Mehrzad was diagnosed with acromegaly at an early age which is a condition that stems from an excessive growth hormone.

Mehrzad (right) has helped Iran’s sitting volleyball team qualify for the semi-finals in Tokyo

He normally uses a wheelchair or crutches to get around as a result of a serious pelvis fracture he suffered in a bicycle accident at the age of 15.

The injury caused his right leg to stop growing, and it is now six inches shorter than his left leg.

The 33-year-old took up sitting volleyball in 2011 when a coach spotted him on television and noticed his potential due to his towering height advantage over both his competitors and teammates.

He was first called up to the national squad in 2016 and helped Iran to the top step of the podium in Rio, after eight years without a gold in the event, following a 3-1 victory over Bosnia and Herzegovina. 

Mehrzad has already helped Iran to gold in Rio and to a world championship back in 2018

He then went on to help them regain their world title in the Netherlands in 2018 by again defeating Bosnia 3-0. 

With a highest block reach of six feet four inches, coaches from opposing teams have had to rethink their strategies as a result of his presence on the court.

Following their win over China, Iran will go on to face the runners up of Group A on Thursday which consists of Bosnia, the Russia Paralympic Committee (RPC) and Rio 2016 bronze medalists Egypt.

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