Athletes who are good enough to compete in the world championships are among the very best in their field. They dedicate their lives to the pursuit of their craft, they are proud to represent their countries, and they all dream of returning home with medals around their necks. But at the IPF World Powerlifting Championships held in November, one athlete wasn't competing for glory; Iranian Amir Assadollahzadeh says he found himself quite literally running for his life.
The 31-year-old Iranian lifter told CNN that in the middle of the tournament, he felt compelled to abandon his team and flee from his teammates. He had agonized over a decision that would forever change his life, but at around 3.30 a.m., he had made up his mind and slipped out of his hotel in the Norwegian city of Stavanger, on the North Sea Coast. "I took what I needed for my journey and left," Assadollahzadeh recalled. "I quickly ran towards the bus station, but I arrived five minutes too late. It was very dark, and I was very stressed."