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Nov 15, 2010

Iranian Weightlifting Champion Banned For Life

Just two weeks ago an Israeli defeated an Iranian in a weightlifting competition to take first place in the competition. The poor Iranian had to stand next to the Israeli while they played the national anthem of Israel, Hatikva. He refused to shake the hands of the Israeli.

It seems that refusing to shake hands was not enough. Just for standing there and not leaving, Hossein Khodadadi, the Iranian champion, is being banned for life. He has to forfeit his career.
Khodadadi took his place as a silver medalist on the medals podium prior to the announcement that Israeli medalist Sergio Britva had won the gold. It was the first time since the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran that an Iranian athlete had appeared beside an Israeli in an official championship.
The Iranian weightlifter said the team was not able to remove its flag from the hall, and that had he not attended the ceremony, the team would have been forced to return all the medals they had won on previous days. Furthermore, Iran would have been disqualified from future competitions.
To compensate, Khodadadi appeared in unofficial attire, and he declined to shake Britva’s hand when he extended it to his fellow athlete on the podium. Nevertheless, he stood respectfully during the playing of Israel’s national anthem, HaTikva.
According to numerous Iranian media reports, both Khodadadi and Mir Rasool Raisi, head of the Iranian Delegation’s Weightlifting Team have paid a high price for their professionalism, having subsequently been banned by the Iranian government from all sport activities for life.
The ban was announced by Jalal Yahya-Zadeh, head of the Physical Education Committee for Youth Committee.
Yahya-Zadeh told Iranian media, “The fact that an Iranian weightlifting veteran has competed against an Israeli during the worldwide competitions and has stood beside him during the distribution of medals is unjustifiable. Unfortunately, those who supposedly had the primary responsibility in this regard did not see any problem in this matter, however, and did not see it fit to be distributed within the public, which itself is an obvious mistake on their end.”
Raisi allegedly said in prior remarks that all photos and CDs of the event had been destroyed by the Iranian expeditionary team, which apparently did not expect publicity of the incident to get out.
The committee said the Cultural Commissioners had been informed and the president had been alerted to the matter. It was not clear whether there would be further government retribution against the two professional athletes.

1 comment:

  1. I hear that this internal crisis alone is distracting the upper echelons of the Iranian government so much that is has set their nuclear program back by five years.


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