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Iranian Defector Defies His Homeland by Dedicating His Olympic Medal to Israel

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An Olympic athlete who defected from Iran dedicated his Olympic medal to Israel on Tuesday.

Saeid Mollaei, competing for Mongolia, won a silver medal in the men’s 81kg judo competition in the Summer Games in Tokyo.

After his victory, Mollaei had a comment for the Israeli media.

“Thank you to Israel for all the good energy — this medal is dedicated to you as well and I hope Israelis is happy with this victory,” he said, according to The Jerusalem Post.

Mollaei then added a Hebrew word, “todah,” which means “thank you.”

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In 2019, he fled Iran for Germany after refusing to forfeit a match against Sagi Muki of Israel. He was granted citizenship in Mongolia and has continued to compete in international judo events.

Muki, who had been eliminated earlier in the Olympic judo tournament, said he was pleased that Mollaei won a medal.

“He is a very close friend of mine and I know what he went through to get here. He deserves it. He is inspiring,” Muki said, according to The Jerusalem Post.

Twitter rejoiced with Mollaei.

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Mollaei’s disclosure that Iran was forcing competitors to lose to avoid facing Israeli athletes led to the International Judo Federation suspending Iran for four years for state-sponsored antisemitism, according to Fox News.

The federation called the Iranian policy “a serious breach and gross violation of the statutes of the IJF, its legitimate interests, its principles and objectives.” Iran appealed the suspension but lost.

Despite that, some athletes still will not face Israelis.

Algerian judo competitor Fathi Nourine last week withdrew from the Olympics rather than face an Israeli rival. He had done the same thing in the 2019 world championship.

The IJF suspended Nourine and his coach.

“Judo sport is based on a strong moral code, including respect and friendship, to foster solidarity and we will not tolerate any discrimination, as it goes against the core values and principles of our sport,” the IJF said.

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Jack Davis is a freelance writer who joined The Western Journal in July 2015 and chronicled the campaign that saw President Donald Trump elected. Since then, he has written extensively for The Western Journal on the Trump administration as well as foreign policy and military issues.
Jack Davis is a freelance writer who joined The Western Journal in July 2015 and chronicled the campaign that saw President Donald Trump elected. Since then, he has written extensively for The Western Journal on the Trump administration as well as foreign policy and military issues.
Jack can be reached at jackwritings1@gmail.com.
Location
New York City
Languages Spoken
English
Topics of Expertise
Politics, Foreign Policy, Military & Defense Issues




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