Sanda Fighting Sisters Elaheh and Shahrbano
Her little sister Elaheh was six years younger. She was also intrigued by sanda, and she wanted to join too. What stood in their way was money. There was only enough to scrape together for the eldest daughter to go to wushu school. But when Shahrbano came back from each class, she taught all the sanda techniques she learned to Elaheh.
Whether it was growing up with a tough childhood, their innate natural talents, or their iron-willed discipline to train for long hours that eventually brought them into the spotlight, the pair of sisters was quickly noticed by the Iran Wushu Federation. They soon had their chance to fight for their dreams on the world stage.
Shahrbano was the first wushu graduate in the family, but Elaheh was a prodigy. She qualified for the national youth team and won her first wushu medal—a silver—in Korea’s Asian Youth Championships in 2007 when she was 16. Two years later she was fighting at the World Wushu Championships in Canada and won another silver medal. She vowed the next would be gold—and she was right.
In 2010, she won a gold medal at the Sanda World Cup in China. But the following World Championships in Turkey brought a disappointing bronze, and Elaheh doubled down to train harder. Flash forward two years to Malaysia and the 12th World Wushu Championships. Little did she know what a game-changer it would be.