Iranian Olympic medalist defects to Europe

Kimia Alizadeh, only woman to win an Olympic medal for Iran, becomes latest athlete to defect from Iran,cites 'injustice' towards athletes.

Gary Willig ,

Kimia Alizadeh
Kimia Alizadeh
Reuters

The only woman to win an Olympic medal for Iran has defected to Europe claiming that the Islamic Republic mistreats its athletes, AFP reported.

"Should I start with hello, goodbye, or condolences?" Taekwondo athlete, Kimia Alizadeh, 21 wrote on Instagram in Farsi Saturday.

Alizadeh wrote that Iran was guilty of "lying" to and "injustice" towards the country's athletes.

She further stated that all she wants is "Taekwondo, security and a happy and healthy life."

According to Alizadeh, she wore everything the Iranian government mandated that she wear during her competitions, including Islamic head coverings, and "repeated everything they told me to say...None of us matter to them."

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

It was not clear which European country she defected to, though Iranian media reported that she had gone to the Netherlands.

Alizadeh is not the first Iranian athlete to defect to Europe in protest against mistreatment by the regime. In November Germany granted asylum status to Iranian Judoka Saeid Mollaei.

The 27-year-old Mollaei made headlines after he ignored Iranian officials’ demands to withdraw from the World Judo Championships in order to avoid competing against an Israeli. After losing in the semifinals of the competition -- a result he says was affected by the emotional stress caused by the Iran officials request – he travelled to Germany to begin the process of applying for asylum.




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