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Iranian world bronze medallist Mohammad Mohammadi forced to withdraw for Worlds

22 Aug 2019 17:45

   Oliver Sellner
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Mohammad Mohammadi will not be included in the draw on Saturday. The Iranian bronze medallist of last year’s World Championships is in a category with Israelian fighter Tohar Butbul. That said, also World Champion Saeid Mollaei is in doubt for prolonging his second World title in a division with Sagi Muki. Muki and Mollaei can only meet in the final or a bronze contest.

The Iranian fighters continue to be punished by the Iranian policy. The number one favourite for prolongation of the World Championships U81kg is ready to fight for the world title. “I am always ready to fight Israel.”

Mohammad Mohammadi is not in Japan and will not be fighting at the Worlds in Tokyo due to the system.

The IJF recently reached a historic agreement with the Iranian Sports Ministry, Olympic Committee and Judo Federation, the IJF announced a positive 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.

Still the air is not bright and frontrunner Saeid Mollaei may also be in danger to compete with Sagi Muki in his category. Muki is in a great shape and both might meet in the final stages as both are protected and separated.

It would be another painful decision for the athletes involved as they always want to fight Mollaei stated exclusively in an interview.

In the agreement 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 the Israelian fighter. This time it’s for sure Mohammad Mohammadi who is withdrawn deliberately from taking part in a pool with Israelians 

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  • Saeid Mollaei (MGL), SeungSu Lee (KOR) - Grand Prix Zagreb (2019, CRO) - © Tino Maric - CJF, Croatian Judo Federation
  • Saeid Mollaei (MGL) - Grand Prix The Hague (2018, NED) - © IJF Media Team, International Judo Federation
  • Saeid Mollaei (MGL) - World Championships Tokyo (2019, JPN) - © JudoHeroes & IJF Media, Copyright: www.ijf.org

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