Medalists of Indonesia 2018 Paralympic games

Imam Khamenei in meeting with medalists of Asian para games: Your self-confidence in defending your values was outstanding

The following is the full text of a speech delivered on November 14, 2018 by Ayatollah Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution, during a meeting with medal-winning athletes of the 2018 Asian Para Games held in Indonesia.



In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds, and peace and greetings be upon our Master and Prophet, Ab-al-Qassem Al-Mustafa Muhammad, and upon his pure, immaculate, and infallible household, especially the one remaining with Allah on earth.

You are very welcome dear brothers, dear sisters, and heroic youth in the real sense of the word. Sports are valuable, both at an individual level – this means that athletes have a value-added compared to those who do not do sports – and at a national level. A country which enjoys public sports and championship sports – which is a model for public sports – has value-added compared to other countries. Today, this is well-established in the world: everyone knows and understands this value. That is why they spend lavishly on championship sports and help their champions. They work hard on sports, and they even formulate their policies in this direction.

Despite the fact that they repeat a motto of not allowing politics to enter sports and other related phrases, they sometimes back up sports with politics. Why? Because they want to bring their country honor with the help of sports. --Sports work like this. Therefore, you who are busy working in this arena – the arena of sports – should really feel and believe that you are carrying out a valuable spiritual obligation. If your intention is to serve the country and the Islamic Republic, this will definitely be a divine and spiritual deed, one for which you will be rewarded. --This is like an act of worship. In fact, it is turned into an act of worship. Well, this is the essence of one issue about sports.

I have written down some points to discuss about you. Well, championship sports are an exemplar of self-confidence, determination, and willpower. --All world champions can be described like this. Their presence and their ability to become a champion is a sign of their firm determination and willpower. In the case of those individuals who are physically challenged, this determination is two times as much, and sometimes, even more. Compare a person who does not have a physical condition, who becomes a champion of a certain sport or wins a high ranking, with a person who is physically challenged and earns the same ranking. Such a feat shows that the determination of the challenged athlete is even firmer; therefore, the value of his efforts is twice or several times greater.

Despite your physical condition, you have managed to shine brightly in the arena of sports: this is very valuable. So, when those who have a physical condition – the disabled war veterans and other people with physical challenges – compete in sports and become champions, this is twice or several times more valuable than the ones who do not have a physical challenge. --This shows your firm determination. When you realized that you have a physical condition – in your legs, your hands, and other parts of your body – you could have stepped aside from championship competitions with that excuse, but you did not. Instead, you entered the arena, worked hard, exercised, pushed yourselves, and showed firm determination to reach the peak of this sports arena. Championship sports are the summit of a mountain, and public sports are its foot. Because of you, everyone looks at the summit and moves towards it by learning from you. Therefore, your work is more valuable than that of other champions who do not suffer from a physical condition. --This is the first point.

Another important point that I witnessed in you – both this time and in previous times: I watched your matches on TV whenever I could – is that you thanked God after every victory. Some of you prostrate yourselves: this means that you think your victories are because of God, and you consider this blessing as a God-given gift. --This is very valuable. The problem with rebellious and wild individuals is that they think their achievements stem from their own efforts, and they ignore divine kindness and attention.

With this move, with your attention to God, with your supplications, with your prostrations, and with your prayers, you showed that you are not negligent, and you are cognizant of the fact that your glories are a gift from Allah the Exalted. This is an important stage in thanking God. By Allah’s favor, this will help you make more achievements and increase your capabilities. God says, “If you are grateful, I will add more favors unto you.” [The Holy Quran, 14: 07] If you thank God, He will increase His blessings. This move of yours – which shows your knowledge about divine blessings – is an important phase of thanking God.

Another point which was very outstanding to me was the self-confidence that you showed in defending your principles. One example is that raising the flag was carried out by ladies wearing chador: this is very valuable. I do not know if the lady who was wearing chador, raising the flag during the opening and closing ceremonies, knew how valuable her job was or how great that movement was! --This means that you have singlehandedly stood up against increasing decadence and corruption throughout the world. It means that you have stood up against the invasion of policies which are being promoted by the Zionists and morality-destroying companies – policies which drag men and women towards moral corruption.

You are practically defending your hijab, your chador, your religion, and your Islamic teachings in an international arena, and you are not worried about what others say. --This requires a great deal of bravery and courage. There are many individuals who cannot deal with the pressure. I have seen some people who did not have the capability to resist the invasion of endless expectations on the part of kufr and arrogance when they participated in international arenas. Such people give up and retreat, but you have stood firm. --This is very valuable. You held public prayers and participated in Friday prayers. This means that you defended your religion, your religious teachings, your national values, your national garment – chador is our national garment – and your hijab and modesty: this was very valuable to me.

I sincerely and deeply thank all of you. I thank the officials in charge of this sports group and the ladies who observed this. This was an exhibition of cultural power. This was a sign of cultural power. It was a sign of cultural independence, and it was a sign of firm determination. Today’s wars in the world are wars of willpower. Any side which shows firmer determination and more stability will win in the arena. You showed that you have the capability and power to do so.

Another point which existed in this year’s sports caravan was concerning cost reduction. This was reported to me, and it was very good. I heard that the respected officials in charge of this sports caravan lowered the costs. They did not take with them some people who would normally join sports caravans without any good reason. I also approve of the other tasks that they carried out. I really admire this effort of yours.

A fundamental point which exists about championship sports related to the disabled war veterans and the physically challenged is that it shows the utilization of hidden capacities existing in a human being. One of our grave problems today is that we have many capacities – national capacities – which we have not put to use. We have geographical and cultural capacities and capacities related to human and underground resources. We have financial capacities, international interaction, and centrality. We have all kinds of capacities, but many of them are, unfortunately, not utilized properly. If they are utilized, the existing economic problems of the country will be resolved to a great extent: this is one of the issues which should receive attention.

Humans have certain capacities, such capacities are ignored. When someone looks at a brother or a sister who is challenged, they think that they do not have many ordinary capabilities; but they had the important capacity to become champions. You became champions, and you won gold and silver medals. You won medals. This capacity to become a champion might exist in many others, but it is not utilized. You, however, used this capacity. --This is very important.

Your athleticism and your championship shows the possibility of using the hidden capacities in humans. You taught a lesson to others, and you became their teachers. All of us should really learn. People at different ages – particularly youth – should learn from you. They should know that in their bodies, willpower, and soul, there are capacities which can be utilized and implemented for the progress of the country, for construction, for the good of oneself, and for worldly and otherworldly benefit. This is another point which is very important in my opinion: you have become a paragon of utilizing capacities.

One gentleman – of course, I do not know you in person – has won six gold medals: in swimming apparently [Supreme Leader addresses Mr. Shahin Izadyar and says, “Is it you? Masha’Allah!”]. This is very important: six medals. He has won six gold medals in a sport which is his specialty. This shows the existence of an astonishing capacity. Perhaps, this gentleman, himself, did not know for a long time that such a capacity existed in him, but he entered the arena, took action, showed determination, made a decision, and reached the point of winning six gold medals.

The last point is that your influence in motivating the masses of the people is more than others. I have always said that championship sports are like a summit which should exist in the country so that everyone else can participate in sports. --This is because everyone should do sports. Both youth and the elderly should do sports. Youth do sports in one way, and the elderly – people like us – do sports in another way. Everyone should be active in sports. Who motivates people to do sports? Those who are at the summit -- it is these people who motivate others. The motivation that you give is two times more than the motivation that others give: this is because you managed to win glories despite your physical condition.

In any case, I thank you for your efforts. Also, I am very grateful to the officials in charge. I am grateful to the officials in charge of sports, Mr. Khosravi Vafa and others. I hope that you will always be successful and preserve this spiritual morale and this spirit of attention and firm determination, God willing. I hope that you will improve on a daily basis.

As for the requests that this dear brother of ours, who is a disabled war veteran and who is a former prisoner of war put in – both a disabled war veteran and a former prisoner of war – Mr. Minister is present here. You should pursue the parts which are related to the administration. They do not have many requests. Their request is a legitimate and correct one. You should grant their request, and you should not pass them on to the officials who will come after you.

And their request from me was clear. They asked for chafiyahs and rings, and I will certainly grant their request. By Allah’s favor, I will give all of you both chafiyahs and rings.

Greetings upon you and Allah’s mercy and blessings




  • Asian Para Games