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Historic agreement reached by IJF and Iran

11 May 2019 19:45

 Mark Pickering - IJF and JudoInside    Athlete Instagram
arash_miresmaeili_2019

After having witnessed on several occasions in recent history a disturbing phenomenon, which involves the sudden “injury” or failure of weigh-in of Iranian athletes, phenomenon which is linked by many observers to the possible obligation of the given athletes to compete against certain countries, the International Judo Federation decided to step up in order to protect the right of athletes to fair competition.

Following several exchanges and discussions with the Iranian Sports Ministry, Olympic Committee and Judo Federation, the IJF is pleased to announce that it received a favourable response and commitment from the Iranian side where the Olympic Committee of Iran as well as the new elected President Arash Miresmaeili signed a promise to respect the Olympic Charter and its non-discrimination principle and the Iran Judo Federation shall fully comply with the charter and the IJF statutes.

Former double World Champion Arash Miresmaeili who didn’t fight at the 2004 Olympic Games signed the agreement. IOC President Thomas Bach was copied in the letter.

Neither Iran nor the IJF specifically mentioned Israel, but Iranian athletes have on several occasions forfeited matches to avoid facing Israelis, who have become increasingly relevant in the sport on the world stage.

Neither Iran nor the IJF specifically mentioned Israel, but Iranian athletes have on several occasions forfeited matches to avoid facing Israelis, who have become increasingly relevant in the sport on the world stage.

Iran’s sports policy is an outgrowth of the country’s official refusal to recognize Israel. Its leaders routinely encourage the demise of the Jewish state and the countries are considered arch foes.

In February, Iranian judoka Saeid Mollaei threw a match at the Paris Grand Slam to avoid facing Israeli Sagi Muki in the next round by feigning an injury, ending his chance at a gold medal. He then recovered to win his bronze medal match, but feigned another injury to avoid standing on the podium with Muki.

In 2018, the body stripped international competitions from the UAE and Tunisia over their refusal to allow Israelis to compete as Israelis.

The UAE later relented, resulting in the anthem Hatikvah being played in the country for the first time last year after Muki won the gold in the underU81 kg category.

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