The best part of the PhD so far, happened at JSM 2016 this summer in Chicago, where Behnaz got her prize for the outstanding Bayesian research applied on climate science from the section on Bayesian Statistical Sciences (SBSS) and was recognized as Honorary mention in section on Statistics and Environment (ENVR), in the student paper competition, American Statistical Association (ASA), 2016.
In 2013, Behnaz started to play for Sweden in International tournament.The best rank she achieved with Swedish flag was in July 2015 in Road to Rio ranking list, where she had rank 84.
Under both Swedish and Iranian flag, Behnaz has competed in Badminton in five continents, more than 30 countries and 100 cities.
2013 - 2015
In 2013, after her recovery from ankle injury, she played for Lund university in European University Games in Uppsala. Following that she started to practice in the morning 7-9, two times a week, in Copenhagen Badminton Center with Anu Nieminen (4 times olympian from Finland) as coach and a couple of great badminton players, including Nicola Cerfontyne (#1 in England) and Nanna Vainio (#1 in Finland).
Behnaz says, “I was getting up at 5:30 to reach the train at 6 to be at the practice at 7. After practice, I had to rush to S-tog to reach the central to take the train to Lund to be at work at 10:30. You might ask: "why?". I would say, to reach my dreams, I will do anything.”
The top left picture shows one of the Tuesday's sessions with 1h 30min multi-shuttles. These multi-shuttle excercies had around 700-900 shuttle drills with high intensity. You can see the results in the top right picture.
Behnaz started her PhD from January 1st 2012.
In the same year she dislocated her ankle (picture is available on request, if you haven’t seen it yet). She say “those moments of my life without Badminton is the most boring ones! I do stuff but it always feels like something is missing.”
January 1st, 2012
She stayed in Växjo for one year (2008/2009) finishing all the mandatory courses of her Mathematics and Modeling master. Then she moved to Lund to study her second master, Mathematical statistics, while finishing the thesis of the first one, in parallel.
She started working as a head coach in LUGI Badminton club 2010, where she began playing from 2012.
She completed her second master thesis in Lund 2012.
2009 - 2012
In 2008 Behnaz was admitted to Växjo University to study Mathematics and Modeling and moved to Sweden.
Behnaz says, “My first impression of arriving in Växjo was: ‘Where are all the people!?’. Växjö is a magical city with all the beautiful nature, including two big lakes in the center (even more around), forests and so on.”
During these times, she started to play in a Danish club, Greve, and participated in the morning practices with top 100 ranked girls.
During her bachelor study, she became the only Iranian Badminton player who so far qualified for both the Asian Games and the World Championship, 2006. From 2005, the Iranian government agreed to send women badminton players abroad for some limited tournaments. This was made possible by the innovative design for the competition clothes made by Behnaz and her double partner Setayesh.
The lower left photo shows the moment that lead to her knee surgery.
2004 - 2007
Behnaz was admitted to Iran University of Science and Technology, Tehran, to study applied Mathematics. Public universities at that time had 300 000 seats each year and 1 500 000 applicants took a four-hour entrance exam on four general and three program-specific topics. She received rank 2 000 in the regional and 6 000 in the national level.
During high school, Behnaz always received the best grade in Mathematics and the worst one in dictation.
At the age of 14, she also became #1 Badminton player in Iran and won several national competitions.
1999 - 2003
Behnaz’s third grade in primary school had an important influence in her life.
She says, “Everything starts from there. During the semester, we had to write an essay and explain what we want to be when we grew up. I have never been good in writing essays but this was different. I chose ‘Scientist’ and explained my invention. It was a car which could drive, fly and sail. It could even become like a submarine (probably still waiting for me to invent it). In the class the teacher usually ask a couple of students to read their essay, I was so excited and probably that was why the teacher asked me to read it for others. When I read that essay loud I made a hidden promise to the world that I should become a scientist. My really influential teacher, Mrs. Jahangiri, with all her support, motivation and encouragement made me fall in love with Math and with challenges. I can still hear her voice telling my mom, ‘she will one day become a Scientist’, while we were collecting my final results: 20 out of 20 on all subject. It is really true that teachers shape the future generations.”
Around age three, a miracle happened in her life during the war between Iran and Iraq. Her mother used to work in the laboratory of the biggest hospital in Iran. Behnaz spent time in the kindergarten on the other side of the hospital area while her mom was working. One of Iraqi jets targeted the hospital and the bomb hit the ground beside the kindergarten. Thankfully, the bomb didn't explode. It’s believed the reason is that construction work in the area exposed soft sand which the bomb landed on without exploding.
She says, “Unfortunately, one of my first memories in life is that accident. 2.5 years old, all I remember is that I was leading younger kids to shelter after the bomb hit and all the windows in the area shattered. It was shocking. But perhaps I learned to live every moment of my life to its fullest. Nothing can be more painful and stressful than war.”