Hadi Rezaei guided Iran to Paralympic gold four times as a coach, and earned three golds as a player ©Getty Images

Four-time Paralympic gold medal-winning sitting volleyball coach Hadi Rezaei is again set to lead the Iranian men's team at the delayed Hangzhou 2022 Asian Para Games after coming out of retirement last year.

Rezaei won three back-to-back Paralympic golds as a player with Iran from Seoul 1988 through to Atlanta 1996, and then guided the country to victory as coach at Sydney 2000.

He has since led Iran to further triumphs at Beijing 2008, Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020, as well as silvers at Athens 2004 and London 2012.

He retired after the delayed Tokyo 2020 Olympics, but returned to help Iran win gold at the World Championships for the fourth time in his coaching career in Sarajevo last year.

Rezaei was crowned world champion four times as a player between 1984 and 1994.

In April last year, he was named an honorary life member of World ParaVolley in recognition of his contribution to the sport.

Iranian National Federation President Ali Kashfia confirmed that Rezaei would serve as the country's head coach for the defence of its title at the Asian Para Games.

"We will participate in the ParaVolley Asia Oceania Zonal Championships in Almaty, Kazakhstan in July as well as 2022 Asian Para Games in Hangzhou, China in October," Kashfia said, as reported by the Tehran Times.

"Rezaei will continue his cooperation with us until the end of the 2022 Asian Para Games."

Hangzhou is due to hold the delayed Asian Para Games from October 22 to 28 2023 ©Getty Images
Hangzhou is due to hold the delayed Asian Para Games from October 22 to 28 2023 ©Getty Images

Rezaei recognised that expectations are high of the men's sitting volleyball team in Iran.

"Our biggest challenge is that Iranian people expect us to become champions, which puts a heavy responsibility on our athletes and coaches," he said.

"In some sports, winning a Championship in Asia or participating in the Paralympics is an honour, but it seems in sitting volleyball, participation and Championship have different criteria.

"The criterion is that if we achieve the second place in the Paralympic competitions, it means that we have failed."

The fourth edition of the Asian Para Games is scheduled for October 22 to 28 2023.

The Asian Games and Asian Para Games were postponed by one year due to COVID-19 restrictions in China.