Iran’s only female Olympic medallist defects
search

Iran’s only female Olympic medallist defects

Taekwondo athlete Kimia Alizadeh said she is 'one of the millions of oppressed women in Iran' as she leaves for the Netherlands

Kimia Alizade 
(Wikipedia/Tasnim News Agency/Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license.)
Kimia Alizade (Wikipedia/Tasnim News Agency/Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license.)

Iran’s only female Olympic medallist said she defected from the Islamic Republic in a blistering online letter that describes herself as “one of the millions of oppressed women in Iran”.

Taekwondo athlete Kimia Alizadeh posted the letter on Instagram as Iran’s semiofficial ISNA news agency said she had fled to the Netherlands.

She criticised wearing the mandatory hijab headscarf and accused officials in Iran of sexism and mistreatment.

“Whatever they said, I wore,” Alizadeh wrote in the letter posted on Saturday. “Every sentence they ordered, I repeated.”

She described the decision to leave Iran as difficult, but necessary.

There was no immediate reaction from Iranian authorities.+

In recent years, many Iranian athletes have left their country, citing government pressure.

In September, Saeed Mollaei, an Iranian judoka, left the country for Germany.

Iranian Judoka Saeid Mollaei (Screenshot via Times of Israel)

He said Iranian officials had forced him to not compete with Israeli judoka.

Alireza Faghani, an Iranian international football referee, also left Iran for Australia last year.

ISNA said Alizadeh had been reported injured and unable to compete. Their report suggested Alizadeh may try to compete under another nation’s flag at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.

Alizadeh, 21, won a bronze medal at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

Her defection comes amid unprecedentedly high tensions between Iran and the United States.

 

read more:
comments