100-year-old Taghi Askari stood on the edge of a platform, his eyes fixed on the water below as he prepared for his next dive. For Askari, diving has been a lifelong pursuit that began as a child in Iran and led to medals at the Asian Games and national titles. “For me, I have had a love of diving since I was a teenager until today. I have always loved diving. Nothing has changed between 1951 and now, except my performance!” Askari told World Aquatics.
Askari first encountered diving at a swimming pool near his childhood home in Iran, and it ignited a lifelong love of the sport. He has continued to compete and perform in diving events, even winning a gold medal at a national level when he was 41 years old. Despite many changes to the sport over the years, Askari’s passion for diving remained the same. He described significant changes in diving since he first began competing, especially the impact of Chinese swimmers on the sport.
Standing tall with his arms outstretched, Askari took one final deep breath before launching himself into the air and executing his signature exhibition dive at the 2024 World Championships in Doha. The event marked two weeks until the World Aquatics Masters Championships where he would be the oldest competitor. The Championships are held shortly after the elite world championships and are open to participants aged over 25. As he landed safely in the water below, Askari couldn’t help but smile knowing that he still had one more chance to showcase his skills on an international stage.