Masoud Masih Mohammadifar (Mas) has made a splash around the club – by John Allerton
After I met Masoud who joined the club the other day – I saw what an amazing kayaker he was when he pleaded with me to let him in a kayak on the water. I did not know though of his background at this time but thought you obviously have something to show me.
When I saw Mas get on the water and kayak up the docks at full speed and throw his paddle away, immediately hand roll up, I was amazed. He then told me “Oh thank you Sir, thank you very much Sir , you are my saviour. ” He was gold medallist in Iran and an Athlete also a Goal keeper for polo. I thought I would help him into the club and introduce him to the polo team and take him on the river.
If you get talking to Masoud (Mas) you will notice that he is enthusiastic about all paddle sports but also has an amazing story of his journey to the UK.
- Hadi Hossein Nejad, 28, and Masoud Mohammadifar, 39, succeeded in making the 21-mile journey to the Kent coast
- They paddled across the world’s busiest shipping lane at night at the end of August in a Decathlon inflatable Kayak.
A rare August storm blew up and the kayak bringing two shivering migrants to Britain across the Channel filled with water. As the waves dragged the flimsy vessel downwards, the pair frantically bailed out with their bare hands.
One had never paddled a kayak before and could not even swim. Earlier during the ten-hour crossing, he vomited seawater that he had swallowed, and feared he would die. And yet, huddled in their small £220 blow-up kayak with flimsy paddles, the two Iranians miraculously succeeded in making the 21-mile journey to the Kent coast.
On the morning of August 9, the migrants, barefoot and wearing shorts, were spotted by a coastguard helicopter nearing Dover. A Border Force cutter raced to the scene. They were pulled on board and told by an officer with a ‘perfect’ English accent: ‘Welcome to the UK.’
Incredibly, the non-swimmer, 28-year-old Hadi Hossein Nejad, had to learn how to paddle as they travelled. The other, Masoud Mohammadifar, 39, was an international kayaker for Iran until jailed as a suspected U.S. spy by the Islamic regime.
Masoud is now resident in Liverpool and a regular member at the club. He just loves paddling and helped with maintenance, plays polo and helps with almost any session he can. He is still applying for asylum in the UK but if you get the chance please talk to him about his incredible journey.
Read more about his journey over land and then by sea in the Daily Mail article by Sue Reid from 14th August 2019.