Flying girl of Iran hopes to in­crease fe­male sky­divers

Tehran Times - - FRONT PAGE - By Nagh­meh Miza­nian

TEHRAN — Fate­meh Akrami, the only fe­male sky­diver in Iran, hopes to in­struct sky­div­ing to as many in­ter­ested girls as pos­si­ble.

“My goal is to be­come a sky­div­ing in­struc­tor for Ira­nian girls,” Akrami, 24, said in an in­ter­view with the Tehran Times.

“I am an Ira­nian girl and my re­spon­si­bil­ity is to boost the num­ber of fe­male sky­divers in the coun­try”, she stated. Akrami went on to say that if she lived abroad, she would pre­fer to ful­fill her own wishes, but, in her home­land, she has an­other duty.

“There is no fe­male sky­div­ing in­struc­tor in Iran and there are many in­ter­ested women who do not have the chance to learn sky­div­ing abroad as I did”, she noted.

“I be­gan sky­div­ing in 2012; at that time I was the only Ira­nian fe­male sky­diver,” said the for­mer mem­ber of na­tional gym­nas­tics team, adding, “I bur­dened many trou­bles dur­ing these 5 years, es­pe­cially for sky­div­ing in Iran. As a girl, I should join many sky­divers who were mil­i­tary per­son­nel and they were all men, how­ever, I was nei­ther a mil­i­tary per­son­nel nor a man.”

“The male sky­divers guarded against me, look­ing at me as the weak gen­der who may make mis­takes and mis­take has no place in this field of sport,” Akrami said.

“I was not dis­ap­pointed but I tried to be the best and to make the least mis­take and ob­serve my hi­jab”, she added.

My in­sis­tence on sky­div­ing gave en­cour­age­ment to some other women to do sky­div­ing and to­day there are about five fe­male sky­divers,” said Akrami.

They all be­gan sky­div­ing af­ter me. One of the Ira­nian fe­male sky­divers is a 15-year-old daugh­ter of one of the male mil­i­tary sky­divers who have learnt sky­div­ing in Iran; the other 4 have been trained in other coun­tries, she added.

“I will be­come a sky­div­ing in­struc­tor dur­ing the com­ing 6 months. There are many Ira­nian girl who are in­ter­ested in sky­div­ing and send me mes­sages about how they can learn sky­div­ing,” the flying girl of Iran said.

There is va­ri­ety in gym­nas­tics and do­ing gym­nas­tics since I was five lead me to seek for va­ri­ety in other sports which I did not find in many sports I tried.

I did not find va­ri­ety and ex­cite­ment in run­ning and Wushu, then I tried park­our and at the first ses­sion I found out that I can be good at it, said the for­mer stu­dent of com­puter soft­ware engi­neer­ing.

Park­our is a train­ing dis­ci­pline us­ing move­ment that de­vel­oped from mil­i­tary ob­sta­cle course train­ing. Prac­ti­tion­ers aim to get from one point to an­other in a com­plex en­vi­ron­ment, with­out as­sis­tive equip­ment and in the fastest and most ef­fi­cient way pos­si­ble. Park­our in­cludes run­ning, climb­ing, swing­ing, vault­ing, jump­ing, rolling, quadrupedal move­ment, and other move­ments as deemed most suit­able for the sit­u­a­tion.

“Then I tried to join sky­div­ing cour­ses in Dubai which was the near­est coun­try to Iran,” Akrami said.

There were train­ing cour­ses in Iran, but be­cause of its de­lays I tried an­other coun­try, she ex­plained.

Sky­div­ing is a kind of ad­dic­tion, when you be­gin, you can­not leave it and you want more and more and reach up­per stages, Akrami who has taken about 250 dives since 2012 noted.

There were two kinds of peo­ple who en­cour­aged me to fol­low sky­div­ing: first those peo­ple who be­lieved that I, as a girl, am not able to do the job and it gave me more mo­ti­va­tion to prove my ca­pa­bil­ity.

From the be­gin­ning when I did gym­nas­tics there were some who be­lieved that women are weak. The same thing hap­pened about park­our and then sky­div­ing, the strong-minded girl said.

On the other hand, I’ve got the over­all sup­port of my fam­ily not car­ing about my sex and be­ing the only child of the fam­ily, she stated.

The first time, I en­rolled in a sky­div­ing class in Dubai, I was late and I didn’t join the class. When my mother came to know about my hes­i­ta­tion she, her­self, booked an­other ticket for me and pushed me to join the sky­div­ing course, she ex­plained.

“Off course, sky­div­ing is a risky sport and you should never make a mis­take in it, but I be­lieve that gym­nas­tics is more risky than sky­div­ing.

How­ever, any ac­tiv­i­ties has its own risk, Akrami ex­pressed.

Al­though it is a very risky sport, I have an op­ti­mistic view about it. I be­lieve if some­one doubts whether her para­chute works or not, it will not work. I never think bad, there­fore, I am not scared of sky­div­ing.

The first time I ex­pe­ri­enced sky­div­ing, there were many sky­divers around me who gave me a very good feel­ing and told me the first dive is the best ex­pe­ri­ence of sky­div­ing. When I saw their pos­i­tive view­point, and clam and joy­ful re­ac­tion about sky­div­ing, I thought that I am some­one like any of them and I en­joyed my div­ing; and it hap­pened, said the flying girl.

Jump­suits cov­ers the en­tire body. For sky­div­ing a scarf cov­ers the hair and a hel­met is used over the scarf, some­times glasses are used, Akrami ex­plained, adding, there­fore, Ira­nian women can join sky­div­ing world cham­pi­onships ob­serv­ing Is­lamic dress code.

Re­cently I be­gan a wing­suit flying that is the sport of glid­ing through the air us­ing a wing­suit which adds sur­face area to the hu­man body to en­able a sig­nif­i­cant in­crease in lift, Akrami added.

The most im­por­tant bar­rier in front of me was the ex­pen­di­tures of sky­div­ing. Cur­rently, I am driv­ing the car of my hopes with the fastest speed but a bar­rier al­ways bans the road of my suc­cess, i.e. the ex­pen­di­tures, said the stu­dent of phys­i­cal ed­u­ca­tion.

There is no spon­sor­ship for sky­div­ing in Iran, she noted.

Pub­lic show very good re­ac­tion about my job and the sport of sky­div­ing for women, she main­tained.

For­eign­ers, too, re­ceived me very well as the first fe­male Ira­nian sky­diver and they were happy that I am spread­ing this sports in an­other place of the world.

Since sky­div­ing was a sport merely done by mil­i­tary men, at the be­gin­ning Ira­nian male sky­divers guarded against me, look­ing at me as the weak gen­der. They were not happy and help­ful at my first dives in the sky of my coun­try, she told in a self-con­fi­dent man­ner.

Day by day, view­ing my skill and tal­ent in sky­div­ing, great changes hap­pened in the view­point of male Ira­nian sky­divers about me, she ex­pressed.

Akrami went on to ex­plain that “now the same mil­i­tary men call me and in­vite me for sky­div­ing events and I ea­gerly ac­cept it.”

I love sky­div­ing in the sky of Iran, she said, adding, my first sky­div­ing in Iran was in the city of Kalaleh, Golestan Prov­ince, north of Iran. I saw the land of my coun­try more col­or­ful and more beau­ti­ful than the scener­ies I had ever seen in the sky of Dubai, that was all desert.

Then I ex­pe­ri­enced an­other very beau­ti­ful sky­div­ing in Gi­lan Prov­ince, north of Iran, watch­ing beau­ti­ful land­scapes I had never seen in Dubai, the brave sky­diver of Iran ex­plained.

Girls are not more scared of sky­div­ing than men, said the lover of art of sewing, stat­ing, when a sky­diver, male or fe­male board the plane, all pre­sup­po­si­tions about the gen­ders are van­ished, equal­ity is felt and ev­ery­body is think­ing of do­ing the right per­for­mance, she ex­claimed.

All world records of sky­div­ing are for men and women to­gether and never a women is con­sid­ered less ca­pa­ble of men in sky­div­ing, Akrami main­tained.

Men’s phys­i­cal power is more than women and in sky­div­ing phys­i­cal power is not a mat­ter of im­por­tance, there­fore, men and women are equal in sky­div­ing, she con­tin­ued.

There are many women who want many things but they do not try hard to gain it. If some­one re­ally wants some­thing she should make her best to achieve it, Fate­meh told the Tehran Times.

I was not grown in a very rich fam­ily, but when I wanted to reach my goal I tried hard for it. I worked hard and col­lected money to reach my ob­jec­tive. I dis­re­garded buy­ing a bet­ter car, a good cell phone, even go­ing to restau­rants with my friends. I dis­re­garded my small wishes in or­der to reach my great wish, she noted.

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