By Mahdiyeh Qazvinian
Ali-Asghar Asiabari says his family has always been the biggest inspiration for the Iranian karateka, praising his mother for being “my constant hero” throughout his life and career.
“My mom and dad have played an integral part in my career. I’ve been privileged to have their support and encouragement. My mother is my constant hero in life,” Asiabari told Iran Daily.
A men’s team gold medalist in the World Championships in 2018, Asiabari, 27, started learning the basics of the sport at the age of six before turning pro when he was 12.
“I had the mentality and spirit of a warrior since I was a little kid, that’s why I found karate a fascinating sport in the first place. Even today I’m a calm guy in personal life, but a true fighter on the tatami,” says the Iranian, whose first coach was his father, Qesmat Asiabari.
“My father is a prominent grassroots coach in the country, under whom several high-profile Iranian karatekas, namely Bahman Asgari, Majid Hassan-Nia, and Amir-Reza Mirzaei have flourished.”
Asiabari burst onto the international scene of karate in 2013.
“I was always confident about my skills and qualities, which helped me find my way into the Iranian team at such a young age of 17,” added Asianbari, whose fondest memory of representing the country to date is the 2016 World Championships in Linz, Austria.
Asiabari had to settle for a kumite -75kg bronze at the event – sharing the third podium with Italian great Luigi Busà – but still revels in the “thrilling” semifinal against Azerbaijan’s Rafael Aghayev – the eventual gold medalist in the weight class.
The world bronze is only one of many medals Asiabari has won throughout a glittering career, including double golds as well as a silver and a bronze in the Asian Championships, plus a silver medal at the 2017 World Games in Wrocław, Poland.
Asiabari has been dedicating part of his time to teaching young children – a job that has been “both absorbing and stressful” for him.