Hadi Rezaei, Iran's Chef de Mission for this year's Paralympic Games in Tokyo ©I. R. Iran National Paralympic Committee

Iran has announced its policy for this year's Paralympic Games in Tokyo claiming it will focus on sending athletes who have good medal chances rather than sending a very large team.

According to the Tehran Times Iran's Chef de Mission for Tokyo 2020, Hadi Rezaei, revealed the thinking behind reducing their team from Rio 2016 by 38 athletes is to focus on athletes who have more chance of winning medals in the Japanese capital. 

Four years ago Iran sent a record number of competitors to Rio 2016, being represented by 110 athletes in 12 sports. 

They took home eight gold, nine silver and seven bronze medals and finished in 15th place in the medal table.

This year Iran is planning to take a reduced team of 72 athletes to Tokyo 2020.

"The members of the 14-man [I. R. Iran National Paralympic Committee] Executive Board have approved the policy because we can win the same number of medals that we won in the previous edition," Rezaei, who is also the chief executive of the I. R. Iran National Paralympic Committee, told a new conference reported by the Tehran Times. 

"More quality, less quantity is our policy in the Games."

As part of the reduced team, which Rezaei admitted is a cost saving exercise, some of Iran's teams, who have already qualified for Tokyo 2020 will be absent.

Iran were represented by a team of 110 athletes at Rio 2016 but plan to send only 72 to Tokyo 2020
Iran were represented by a team of 110 athletes at Rio 2016 but plan to send only 72 to Tokyo 2020

These include the country's five-a-side football and wheelchair basketball teams.

"We know that there's a lot of emotions about that, but we have decided on what we can earn," Rezaei said.

"It will help us for investment in grassroots sport since we have the 2022 Asian Para Games in Hangzhou and the 2024 Paralympic Games ahead of us."

Rezaei is one of Iran's most celebrated Paralympic athletes and coaches.

He was captain of the country's sitting volleyball team that won Paralympic gold medals at Seoul 1988, Barcelona 1992 and Atlanta 1996.

He was then coach of the team that won gold medals at Sydney 2000, Beijing 2008 and Rio 2016, and silver at Athens 2004 and London 2012. 

Iran's best performance at the Paralympics since they made their debut at Seoul in 1988 was at London 2012 when they finished 11th with a total of 24 medals, including 10 golds.

Iran has enjoyed most of its success in the sports of athletics and sitting volleyball.