Tokyo, July 25: He calls himself a soldier of his country and Iran's newly-crowned 10m air pistol men's Olympic champion Javad Foroughi certainly lives up to that proclamation, having served as a hospital nurse in COVID-19 wards in the run-up to the Games.
The 41-year-old Foroughi set an Olympic record of 244.8 points en route to gold on Saturday (July 24), the field also featuring India's Saurabh Chaudhary who finished seventh after topping the qualifications.
"I am very happy because I'm the first ever Iranian champion in pistol and rifle. Iran had never won a medal, even a bronze medal, in the history of the Olympics and I took gold," Foroughi said in the mixed zone after his triumph.
"I am very happy I could do well as a country's soldier..."
A lesser known aspect of his life is his work as nurse during the COVID-19 pandemic, because of which he even tested positive for the virus last year.
"I am a nurse and I work in the hospital, especially during the COVID pandemic. My COVID test was positive last year because I work in the hospital and after recovering I started my training again for the Olympics," he recalled.
He got infected once again after recovering the first time around and had to even give up his training for a month.
"During preparations for the Olympics my test was positive again. I left training for more than one month and then again started training for the Olympics," he said.
The veteran shooter has been in fine form this year, winning gold at the ISSF World Cup that took place in Croatia in June to add to the gold he won at the World Cup in March in Delhi.
As the world continues to battle it out against the virus, he had just one message for all -- follow the health safety protocols advised by medical practitioners.
"As a nurse, I tell everyone if we follow the protocols, nobody will have COVID-19 and the whole world will be healthy.
"I tell all people, as a shooter and as a nurse, to support each other's health and I'm very happy that COVID-19 could not cancel the Olympics," he said.