TEHRAN, Iran — Iran celebrates 41-year-old Javad Foroughi, an Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps hospital nurse, who won gold in the 10m air pistol to become the Islamic Republic’s oldest and newest Olympic champion.
Foroughi, who survived Covid-19 in the Middle East’s worst-hit country, became Iran’s first medal winner in any shooting event at the Olympics.
“Foroughi makes history with a golden shot,” headlines the government daily Iran, splashing his picture on the front page — as do many other newspapers in his homeland.
The ultra-conservative Javan publishes a picture of Foroughi giving a military salute on the podium as Iran’s national anthem played.
“An unexpected medal… won by a Guards nurse who is at the same time a defender of health and of the shrine,” the newspaper writes.
The term “defender of the shrine” refers to those who work on Iran’s behalf in Syria and Iraq, which also house major sanctuaries in Shiite Islam.
At the beginning of May, Foroughi told public television channel Salamat (“Health” in Persian) about serving at field hospitals in Syrian war zones, including at Palmyra.
Media reports said Foroughi contracted Covid-19 in August last year, and also helped to battle the virus at home in Iran, which has reported nearly 89,000 deaths out of more than 3,690,000 infections.