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Saeid Mollaei awarded for courage

17 Nov 2019 17:05

 Nicolas Messner - IJF    IJF Emanuele Di Feliciantonio / International Judo Federation

Saeid Mollaei will soon resume his career under the IJF Refugee Team colors, a career that was interrupted in Tokyo at the end of August. This will be an important moment for the 2018 World Champion, who since Wednesday, August 28, has seen his life totally change. Now a refugee in Germany, he was in Brussels on Saturday, November 16th, to receive the Crans Montana Forum gold medal from the hands of Ambassador Jean-Paul Carteron, for the difficult decision he took in Japan.

The Forum is a Non-Governmental International Organization established since 1986, whose mission is to build a better World “Towards a more Humane World”.

Having traded the judogi for the suit on the occasion of the ceremony, Saeid said he was more impressed to have to speak in front of a crowd of selected personalities than when he had to get on the tatami to start a world championship. Actually within two months, many things have changed for the former world number one: "It has been difficult. Very difficult months. Being far from your family and not capable of at least talking with them freely is harsh. But I keep going. I step in a new life, and try to cope with all difficulties.”

Saeid admits that everything is new for him: “I come from a quite traditional society, from a traditional family. Now, I live in a modern society, among people with a quite different culture, rules and behaviors. Everything is different. But a sportsman learns to cope with situation, and adapt oneself, and this is what I am doing.”

Since Tokyo and after a few days of rest, the Champion has been training daily to reach his goal and dream, to be an Olympic Champion: “Every morning I go to the gym, and I practice judo in the afternoon, 6 days per week. I participated in a few competitions with my judo club and thanks to the IJF I could also participate in training camps.”

Far from the World Judo Tour, he has been following the World Judo Tour on TV, but in a few days, he will again fly to Japan: “When I was told that I will go to Osaka, I intensified my trainings and exercises. I left Japan with tears. I cried a lot. But now to go back to Japan means a lot for me. I will do all I can to be ready for the Olympics, and Osaka is the very first step in this path.”

For the time being, it is to become an Olympic champion: “Without the support of the IJF and the one of my new family in Germany I couldn't be here. The people who are supporting me are like angels who lead me through this new life. I don’t know how to thank them. There are great. I will do all my best to get the Olympic medal, as a gift to them and to all judo family.”

Mollaei concluded: “I thank the organizers of Crans Montana Forum for their invitation and the medal. I am honored. I know that through sport we can fight against discrimination and inequality. We must try to make a better world. A peaceful world, more equal, more friendly, and more fair.”

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Related Judo Photos

  • Saeid Mollaei (MGL) - World Championships Tokyo (2019, JPN) - © IJF Gabriela Sabau, International Judo Federation
  • Mohammad Mohammadi (IRI), Saeid Mollaei (MGL) - World Championships Tokyo (2019, JPN) - © JudoHeroes
  • Saeid Mollaei (MGL), Benedek Toth (HUN) - Grand Prix Zagreb (2019, CRO) - © IJF Aurelien Brandenburger, 	International Judo Federation

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Result City Date
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Result City Date
1Düsseldorf21 Feb


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