Saman Soltani, a canoe sprint athlete originally from Iran, has been offered an IOC refugee athlete scholarship and will attempt to earn a quota for next year’s Paris Olympics at the ICF qualification event in Szeged, Hungary, next year.

Soltani now resides in Austria, but will race as a refugee athlete. She was a member of the Iranian kayak national team from 2016 until 2022, winning gold in both the women’s K1 500 and K1 200 national sprint titles in 2019.

Soltani also won silver in the U23 competition at the Asian Championships in 2018. Since competing in Austria, Soltani has won gold in the K1 1000 and silver in the K1 500 and K1 200 at this year’s national championships. She also triumphed in the 22 kilometre race at the 2023 Austrian Marathon National Championships.  

The 27-year-old also holds a canoe/kayak coaching and referee card.She will attempt, alongside German-based Saeid Fazloula, for selection for the Paris 2024 Refugee Olympic team by the IOC’s executive board next year.

Fazloula, who was also an athlete in Iran but fled the country in 2015, competed as part of the Refugee Olympic team at the Tokyo Olympics.

“I am really really happy after this hard year and now I feel really motivated to achieve my biggest dream and compete with the best athletes in the world in the Olympic Games Paris 2024,” Soltani said.

Canoe Sprint