Destination Rio for Iranian amputee


Iranian-born amputee Mohsen Dashti is setting his sights on Paralympic selection, after he was granted a distinguished talent visa late last month.

A traffic accident left Iranian asylum seeker Mohsen Dashti with only one leg, but it put him on the path to the Paralympics in Rio.

When Dashti lost his right leg in an accident in Melbourne in 2012 his life fell apart, he told SBS News.

"I lost all my hope because I had no picture of how life can continue and what can happen for me in the future," he said.

He had been driving a truck when the brakes failed, plowing the vehicle into a tree and crushing his leg.

After 12 operations, doctors made the decision to amputate the leg.

Dashti had no extended family, friends or permanent residency status in Australia, and after the accident he was battling constant pain.

With nothing left to lose, he tried athletics and within months he set new records for seated mixed javelin, shot put and discus.

His wife Fatemeh Hazeri told SBS News athletics gave him a new lease on life.

"It was really challenging for him; now he has completely new life and new hope coming to him so it's fantastic," she said.

In the past 10 months, Dashti has taken five gold medals in state and national competitions.

The only thing holding him back from competing at the Olympics was his residency status.

But law firm RSG Lawyers and his Athletics Australia coach John Eden decided to change that.

"He has potential, he works hard, he has a nice aura about him and he's someone who we'd be proud to have represent our country and he has the potential to do that," Eden told SBS.

And three weeks ago, their efforts paid off.

Dashti was granted a 'distinguished talent visa,' allowing him to stay in Australia indefinitely and repesent the country in international competition.

Now, Dashti said, the sky is the limit.

"My dream is to win Paralympic gold and I work on it hard, and I'm never going to give up," he told SBS.

But with Paralympic selection now a real possibility, the hard work is about to begin.

"I won’t take excuses that I have to work or I have my family - if that's the case, then you do that, it's fine, but if you want to be an elite athlete and go to the top of the world you have to work," Eden said.

Dashti said he was determined to win gold, against all odds.

"I want to show to people, especially people with a disability, that we can do it the same as normal people, even sometimes maybe better, if I could".

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