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Tue, 21 Jan 2020 13:44 GMT

Iran’s Only Female Olympic Medalist Defects


Mahmoud Al Assal

Mon, 13 Jan 2020 17:58 GMT

Iran's only female Olympic medalist, Kimia Alizadeh, accused her country's authorities of using her athletic achievements as a propaganda tool after winning a bronze medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Reuters reported that the 21-year-old wrote on her Instagram account on Sunday January 12th that she had left Iran because she had a problem with being used by authorities as a propaganda tool.

The Taekwondo champion Alizadeh did not confirm which country she had gone to.

"No one has invited me to Europe, and I haven't been given a tempting offer. But I accept the pain and hardship of homesickness because I didn't want to be part of hypocrisy, lies, injustice and flattery," Alizadeh said.

BBC reported that Iran's only female Olympic medalist described herself as "one of the millions of oppressed women in Iran".

"I wore whatever they told me and repeated whatever they ordered. Every sentence they ordered I repeated. None of us matter for them, we are just tools", she said.

Iranian sports deputy minister Mahin Farhadizadeh told the semi-official ISNA news agency that he has not read Kimia's post, but he insisted the Taekwondo star always planned to continue her studies in physiotherapy.

"Should I start with hello, goodbye or condolences? Hello oppressed people of Iran, goodbye noble people of Iran, my condolences to you people who are always mourning," she added.

Alizadeh is the third top Iranian sports person to stop representing the country in recent months, according to Reuters' report.

Middle East