Judo federation bans Iran
Persian language channel Iran International.
“God forbid something would happen to my family. But I serve my country and whatever medal I get belongs to Iran, whether it’s under the Iran or IOC flag,” he added.
“I feel sorry that maybe I won’t be able to compete for Iran again. But I didn’t train this hard just to put up this show of losing.”
The Times of Israel quoted the Israeli coach as saying Mollaei’s family had been threatened.
“From what we understand,” said Moshe Fonti. “Iranian intelligence officials came both to his home in Iran and to the judo arena and warned him.”
The statement said the IJF “notes that similar acts have been observed in the past.”
It gave as an example Arash Miresmaeili, Iran’s flag bearer at the 2004 Athens Olympics and a favourite in the 66kg class. He was drawn to face Israeli Ehud Vaks in the first round but was too heavy at the weigh in and was disqualified without fighting. Miresmaeili is now the head of Iran’s judo federation.