(July 27, 2021 / JNS) Iranian defector Saeid Mollaei, who now represents Mongolia, dedicated his silver medal to the State of Israel after the match on Tuesday at the Tokyo Olympics.
“This medal is also dedicated to Israel, and I hope Israelis are happy with this achievement,” said Mollaei, according to Israel’s Kan news.
Earlier this year, Mollaei competed in the Tel Aviv Grand Slam, winning a silver medal for Mongolia. He was warmly received by the Israel Judo Association and its president, Moshe Ponte.
The International Judo Federation suspended Iran for four years in May (backdated to start in 2019) for attempting to prevent its athletes from competing against Israelis.
Iran’s actions against Israeli competitors made headlines when Mollaei left his team in 2019 and was granted refugee status in Germany, saying he was forced to lose matches to avoid facing Israeli athletes.
Jewish News Syndicate
With geographic, political and social divides growing wider, high-quality reporting and informed analysis are more important than ever to keep people connected.
Our ability to cover the most important issues in Israel and throughout the Jewish world—without the standard media bias—depends on the support of committed readers.
If you appreciate the value of our news service and recognize how JNS stands out among the competition, please click on the link and make a one-time or monthly contribution.
We appreciate your support.