Iranian Defector Dedicates Tokyo Olympic Medal to Israel

  • Saeid Mollaei gained a silver medal in judo on the Tokyo Olympics on Tuesday. 
  • Mollaei, who’s initially from Iran however is representing Mongolia, devoted the medal to Israel.
  • Mollaei left Iran two years in the past after he was advised to lose on function to keep away from an Israeli opponent.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Saeid Mollaei gained silver on the 81kg judo Olympic ultimate in Tokyo on Tuesday, then used his victory to honor the enemy of his dwelling nation. 

Mollaei, who’s initially from Iran however is competing for Mongolia on the Tokyo Olympics, devoted his silver medal to Israel. Iran and Israel have been in a proxy conflict since 1985. 

“Thanks to Israel for all the great power,” Mollaei stated in keeping with The Jerusalem Publish. “This medal is devoted to you as nicely and I hope Israel is pleased with this victory, todah (which interprets to ‘thank providing’ in Hebrew).”

Mollaei’s abandonment of Iran stems from an incident on the 2019 World Judo Championships in Tokyo.

There, Mollaei represented Iran and superior to the semi-final of the match. He was trying to defend his championship after successful gold on the earlier yr’s occasion in Azerbaijan. However Iranian authorities ordered Mollaei to deliberately lose the semifinal match to make sure he would not need to face Israeli champion Sagi Muki within the ultimate. 

The Worldwide Judo Federation (IJF referred to as Iran’s tampering “a severe breach and gross violation of the statutes of the IJF, its legit pursuits, its ideas and aims, ” and suspended the nation from the occasion for 4 years.

In the meantime, after Mollaei uncovered what the Iranian authorities pressured him to do, he fled the nation and went into hiding. He discovered asylum in Germany in August 2019 on a two-year visa, however then grew to become a citizen of Mongolia in December 2019.

A submit shared by Sagi muki (@sagi_muki)

Mollaei and Muki went on to develop a friendship after the 2019 incident in Tokyo, as they every spent the subsequent two years getting ready for the Olympics, cheering eachother on at numerous worldwide competitions. 

Muki misplaced within the quarterfinal of the Olympic match earlier on Tuesday, however was pleased to see Mollaei win silver. 

“I am tremendous pleased for Saeid,” Muki stated after Mollaei’s victory on Tuesday, in keeping with The Times of Israel. “I do know what he is gone by means of, and the way a lot he needed it. He is a really shut good friend of mine, and I am so pleased that he succeeded in reaching his dream. He deserves it — his journey is extremely inspiring.”

When Mollaei competed on the Grand Slam worldwide judo competitors within the Israel metropolis of Tel Aviv again in February of this yr, he lauded the hospitality that the Israeli individuals confirmed him throughout his go to. 


“[Israel] has been superb to me since I arrived,” Mollaei stated. “[The Israeli judo staff members have been very form. That’s one thing I’ll always remember.”

Mollaei and Muki’s friendship is even being tailored right into a scripted tv sequence, after promoting the rights of their story to MGM/UA Television and Israel’s Tadmor Leisure again in March 2021. | Iranian Defector Dedicates Tokyo Olympic Medal to Israel


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