Iran’s judo world champion Mollaei to fight for Mongolia in Tokyo

Iran’s judo world champion Mollaei to fight for Mongolia in Tokyo

LAUSANNE, Switzerland (Reuters) – World judo champion Saeid Mollaei of Iran, who fled his country last year, will compete at this year’s Tokyo Olympics for Mongolia after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) approved his nationality switch on Tuesday.

The 2018 world champion fled Iran for Germany after saying he had been pressured by Iranian authorities to drop out of his quarter-final and semi-final at last August’s world championships in Tokyo to avoid a potential final with Israel’s Sagi Muki.

Mollaei refused to return to Iran over fears for his safety after ignoring the orders from the country’s National Olympic Committee and government.

He was initially accepted as a refugee in Germany and then made the switch to Mongolia.

That move did not require the normal three-year waiting period for athletes changing national teams as Mollaei had previously been recorded as a refugee.

Mollaei’s case was not the first time athletes from Arab nations or Iran had been ordered to pull out or had refused to compete with Israeli athletes at the Olympics or other international competitions.

Since its Islamic Revolution in 1979, Iran has refused to recognize Israel as a country and the two have been arch-enemies for decades.

At the 2004 Athens Olympics, then-Iranian world champion Arash Miresmaeili refused to fight Israeli judoka Ehud Vaks, earning praise back home.

At the Rio de Janeiro Games in 2016, Egyptian judoka Islam El Shehaby was sent home after refusing to shake the hand of Israeli Or Sasson following their bout.

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.

Latest Category Posts

You May Also Read