began her archery career six years ago at the age of 20. She was the final Iranian woman athlete to qualify for London 2012, making the Olympic cut on 23 June 2012. In the month leading up to her departure she encountered a number of problems with the Iranian Archery Federation, issues that nearly led to her missing the Olympics. Her story
begins three months ago, when the acting head of Iran's archery federation, Mohammadali Shojaei, changed the coaches of the Iranian national archery team. Dehghan had trained with her Korean coaches for years and wanted to remain with her coaches, at least until the Olympics. One month ago, just 27 days before the opening ceremony of the Olympics was due to take place, Zahra Dehghan and Milad Vaziri, Iran's male archer in the Olympics, quit the federation's training camp and wrote a letter to Shojaei asking for their Korean coaches to come back.
In the letter they announced that they would not return to the national team's camp unless their old coaches returned. In their letter, Dehghan and Vaziri also requested an Iranian coach, Hamzeh Safaei, who is the son of the Archery Foundation's former president. Current president Shojaei, angered by the letter, said the two archer's must have been provoked by an unnamed forced to write the letter and the federation replaced the archers two days later with Sareh Asadi and Nader Manouchehri.
After the news of her replacement hit the media, Dehghan commented
, "It was Mr Shojaei who had insisted that we should say who we would want as our Iranian coaches. In fact, the letter that we wrote was dictated to us by Mr Shojaei. He was the one asking us to address these issues in writing".
Then again, during the sending off ceremony for athletes on 18 July, less than ten days before the Olympics, Mohammad Aliabadi, president of Iran's National Olympic Committee, announced that
Zahra Dehghan and Milad Vaziri would return to represent Iran in the Olympics: "With the approval of Abbasi, the Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports, the original archers have been re-introduced as our representatives at the Olympics".
Dehghan was happy to represent Iran in the archery competition and said
, "Getting to the Olympics is a really good feeling and I thank God that in the last minutes I returned to the Olympic team's list". She emphasised that she had continued as normal with her training regime, even while she was off the team: "For a while our mental condition wasn't good, but since our departure to London has become definite, our condition has improved and we're shooting better than ever before".
In an ironic twist, some Iranian news agencies reported
that the two Iranian coaches who were supposed to accompany the archers to London on 23 July said they were unable to go because their ID cards had not been issued. A few hours before Dehghan started shooting in the ranking round in Lord's Cricket Ground on 27 July 2012, Iranian news agencies reported
that Milad Vaziri, the male archer, would be Dehghan's coach.