Iran's Strongest Man

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Iran's Strongest Man (also called Mardan Ahanin) (Persian: مردان آهنين - قوى ترين مرد ايران) is the most famous and the only televised annual strongman event in Iran,[1] presented during Nowruz by Channel 3. Reza Javdani is the main host of this program (except three periods) and Faramarz Khodnegah is the official referee.In some periods, Mehdi Fatemi (2005-2006), Mehrab Fatemi (2007-2009), and Ali Dadashi (partly on 2010) helped Khodnegah in his job.

Final results[edit]

Year Place Winner Runner-up Third Fourth Fifth Sixth Seventh Eighth
1998 Tehran Mehrab Fatemi Hamid Soltan Mehdi Mirdavoudi Mehdi Fatemi Farhad Panahi Akbar Ghamgin
2001 Boroujerd Mehrab Fatemi Mojtaba Maleki Majid Talkhavi Mehdi Fatemi Ali Dadashi Reza Golmohammadi Hossein Fatemi Hossein Bejani
2004 Tehran Reza Gharaei Mojtaba Maleki Rouhollah Dadashi Amir Gharaei Mehdi Mirdavoudi Majid Dejbarar Mehdi Bagheri Mehdi Pashaei
2005 Kish Mehrab Fatemi Mojtaba Maleki Hossein Fatemi Majid Talkhavi Karim Taleshi Mehdi Bagheri Ali Esmaeili M. Mohammadi
2006 Bandar Abbas Mehrab Fatemi Ali Esmaeili Hossein Fatemi Aidin Khataei-Asl Hamid Gharaei M. Mohammadi
2007 Bam Reza Gharaei Farzad Mousakhani Ali Esmaeili Rouhollah Dadashi Hamid Gharaei M. Mohammadi
2008 Chabahar Reza Gharaei Hassan Ebadi Rouhollah Dadashi Ali Esmaeili M. Mohammadi Hamid Gharaei Amir Gharaei Javad Maafi
2009 Bam Rouhollah Dadashi Moslem Darabi Ali Esmaeili M. Mohammadi Mehrdad Bajelan Hamed Amiri Hamid Gharaei Mehdi Norouzi
2010 Tehran Rouhollah Dadashi Moslem Darabi Mehrdad Bajelan M. Mohammadi Mohsen Akhoundi Alireza Gharaei Mehrab Fatemi Ali Esmaeili
2011 Gheshm Moslem Darabi Ali Esmaeili Kamal Sharifi Karim Taleshi Nemat Jalali Mohsen Akhoundi Saeed B. Kazemi
2012 Kish Moslem Darabi Nemat Jalali Hamed Haghzareh Mohsen Masnabadi Mehrdad Bajelan Bahram Akbari Farshid Hemmati

Competitions description[edit]

The first period (1998)[edit]

The idea of having the Iran's strongest man series was introduced in 1998. In the same year, the first period of this program started. The name of this program was Ghavitarin Mardan Iran which changed from the next periods to Mardan Ahanin. The way of performing this program was completely different from the next periods. The program was held among the year, and the program was shown on TV once a week and it lasts more than 27 weeks (From starting to ending).

In the first period, the quality of the matches were not that much standard according to the world level standards, and many non-professional athletes participate in the program. The Final was done by the participation of six athletes. In the final, Mehrab Fatemi could win the title. In this year, some other athletes like Hamid Soltan, Mehdi Mirdavoudi, Mehdi Fatemi, Mehdi Panahi, Akbar Ghamgin, Kazem Ghamgin and Rahim Asgari could have a good performance.

The second period (2001)[edit]

After 3 years, the second program started. From this program up to now, the matches is held in an intensive way near the Norooz and the series is shown on TV in Norooz. After three years, the quality of matches increased from the second period.From this year only the professional athletes from weightlifting and Bodybuilding participated in the program and before entering to the event they had some regional or country-wide testing. The Final was done by the participation of eight athletes. In this second period, Mehrab Fatemi again could repeat his title. In addition, some new athletes introduced themselves as the competitors of Mehrab Fatemi. It can be mentioned to Mojtaba Maleki and Majid Talkhavi who had a good competition by Mehrab Fatemi in the final match. Ali Dadashi and Mohammad Reza Golmohammadi had a good performance, too. In some items of this final, some athletes like Majid Talkhavi were not satisfied from the refereeing conditions.

Again this program was not held for three year. From 2004 and up to now the program was held annually.

The third period (2004)[edit]

In the third series of this program Fatemi's brothers did not participate in the matches. From this year Gharaei's brothers participated in the program. Both brothers (Reza Gharaei the younger one and Amir Gharaei the older one) could reach the final. The Final was done by the participation of eight athletes. In final match which was held in Tehran (Shahrak-e cinemaei) Mojtaba Maleki, who showed himself in the best shape on that year, lead the match up to last stages and it was guessed that he could win the champion for the first time, but in the last stage he could not perform well and on the other hand, Reza Gharaei win the last stage and became the new champion of these series. In the end of this period, Mojtaba Maleki was not satisfied from the match condition and the referees of the final match. In this period some new athletes like Rouhollah Dadashi and Mehdi Bagheri beside some experienced athletes like Mehdi Mirdavoudi could perform well, too.

The fourth period (2005)[edit]

In the fourth period, Mehrab Fatemi with his two younger brothers (Hossein Fatemi and Ali Fatemi) participated in the matches. In the opposite side of the third period on that year Gharaei's brothers did not participate in the matches. The Final was done by the participation of eight athletes. In this year again Mehrab Fatemi could win the title and got his third champion cup. In this year Mojtaba Maleki got the second place of these series for the third time. In addition, Hossein Fatemi, Ali Esmaeili, Mohammad Mohammadi, and Majid Talkhavi had a good performance.[2]

The fifth period (2006)[edit]

In the fifth period, again Gharaei's brothers did not participate in the matches. It showed that because of some unknowm reasons these two groups of athletes (Fatemi's brothers and Gharaei's brother) do not like to participate in the same period of matches. The Final was done by the participation of six athletes. In this year, again Mehrab Fatemi could win his last title. In addition, some new athletes like, Hamid Gharaei (the younger brother of Reza Gharaei) and Aidin Khataei-Asl could have a good performance. In the interesting point on that year, the third-time runner-up, Mojtaba Maleki, could not have a good performance (because of injuring) and could not reach the final.[3]

The sixth period (2007)[edit]

In the six period, again Gharaei's brothers participate in the matches. From this year Mehrab Fatemi the four-time-championman participate in the matches as the referee. The Final was done by the participation of six athletes. In this year Reza Gharaei, who was in a really better shape compared to 2004, could repeat his title. In the final match Farzad Mosakhani, Ali Esmailei, Hamid Gharaei and Rouhollah Dadashi had a good performance and Farzad Mosakhani was in his best shape compared to the previous performances in Mardan Ahanin. In an interesting point, Amir Gharaei could not reach the final.

The seventh period (2008)[edit]

In the seventh period of these series of matches Reza Gharaei could take his third title and made himself closer to the four-championman man, Mehrab Fatemi. The Final was done by the participation of eight athletes. In this year all three Gharaei brothers could reach the final match and Reza Gharaei could take the title with a pretty high distance of scores. In this year, Hassan Ebadi, who was participated in the series for the first time, could reach the final match and in the final match he could get the second place in the high and interesting competition with Rouhollah Dadashi.

The eighth period (2009)[edit]

In the eighth period, the former champion, Reza Gharaei, did not participate in the competition. Both two other Gharaei brothers got injured during the competition. The Final was done by the participation of eight athletes. In the final day, Rouhollah Dadashi could win the title and become the third champion of the series after Mehrab Fatemi and Reza Gharaei. Moslem Darabi got the second place in a close competition with Rouhollah Dadashi. Ali Esmaeili and Mohammad Mohammadi got the third and fourth place, respectively. Mehrdad Bajelan had a good performance, too.[4]

The ninth period (2010)[edit]

In the ninth period, all the three former champions participated in the competition. Moreover, Mojtaba Maleki as the three-time runner-up, Ali Esmaeili as the four-time finalist, and Hassan Ebadi as the one-time runner-up also participated in the competition. Among the three former champions, Reza Gharaei got injured during the competition and could not reach the Final. In the middle of the competition, Mojtaba Maleki, who was in a really good shape, was sacked due to his quarrel with Ali Dadashi (one of the referees and the brother of Rouhollah Dadashi). The Final was done by the participation of eight athletes. In the final day, Mehrab Fatemi and Ali Esmaeili did not continue after doing two items, complaining about including the pre-exercised items by Rouhollah Dadashi in the final. Moreover, there was a quarrel between Mehrab Fatemi and Rouhollah Dadashi at the that day. At the end of this competition as one of the most controversial ones, Rouhollah Dadashi could repeat his previous year title as the champion.[5]

The tenth period (2011)[edit]

In the tenth period, none of the three former champions participated in the competition. The total number of participants are decreased compared to previous competitions. At the primary stage, Hassan Ebadi, the former one-time runner-up and also Mohammad Mohammadi, the multiple-time finalist, could not reach the semi-final. Farshid Hemati, the champion at the selective stages before starting the competition, went out of the competition at the semi-final round and could not reach the final. The Final took place by the participation of 7 athletes. At the final, Moslem Darabi, the former two-time runner-up, could become the champion for the first time. He is the fourth athlete who could become the champion in all periods of this competition. Ali Esmaeili, Kamal Sharifi, and Karim Taleshi got the second to fourth places.[6][7]

The eleventh period (2012)[edit]

In the eleventh period, 18 athletes participated in the competition. The format of the competition was quite different compared to previous years. There have been 2 primary rounds, 1 semi-final round, and a 5-round final in the competition. Ali Esmaeili, eight-time finalist and two-time runner-up, could not reach the final. At the end, he declare his retirement from the future competitions. Moreover, former finalists Hamed Amiri, Mohsen Akhoundi, and Saeed Bagher-Kazemi participated in the competition, but could not reach the final. In the final round of the final, Moslem Darabi could become the champion for the second time. Nemat Jalali and Hamed Haghzareh had a great performance, too.

Fair-play award winner[edit]

Year Place Winner
1998 Tehran Kazem Ghamgin
2001 Boroujerd Mehdi Rostamzadeh
2004 Tehran Ahmad Afshar
2005 Kish Rahim Asgari & Mehdi Bagheri
2006 Bandar Abbas Ali Dadashi & Siavash Barfaan
2007 Bam ?
2008 Chabahar Kamal Sharifi
2009 Bam Hasan Aliyar & Siavash Barfaan
2010 Tehran Ghiyas Ahmadi & Hossein Rasouli
2011 Gheshm Amir Hossein Yavari
2012 Kish Nemat Jalali

Further information[edit]

Fatemi, Gharaei, and Dadashi families have dominated the event so far. Mojtaba Maleki was injured in 2006 but reappeared in 2009. Except the athletes mentioned in the "Final results", some of the other famous athletes who participated in the series are:

Kazem Ghamgin, Rahim Asgari, Farhad Saber, Gholamreza Ahmadi, Ghiyas Ahmadi, Mohsen Masnabadi, Farshid Hemati, etc.


At May 2011, Amir Gharaei, followed by his brother Alireza, which had conflict of 3 milion tomans with their friend, cutted his fingers by a katana and killed another one, then escaped.[8]

At 16 July 2011, Rouhollah Dadashi was stabbed and killed in a street riot.[9]


  • Most champion title:
Mehrab Fatemi (4 times)
Reza Gharaei (3 times)
  • Most Runner-up title:
Mojtaba Maleki (3 times)
Ali Esmaeili and Moslem Darabi (2 times)
  • Most participation in the Final:
Ali Esmaeili (7 times → 2005-2011)
Mohammad Mohammadi (6 times → 2005-2010)
Mehrab Fatemi (5 times → 1998, 2001, 2005-2006, 2010)
Rouhollah Dadashi (5 times → 2004, 2007-2010)
  • Most consecutive wins:
Mehrab Fatemi, Reza Gharaei, Rouhollah Dadashi, and Moslem Darabi (2 times)