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Monday, February 25, 2008

Iran's Tae Kwon Do follies

Iranian competitors continue to be coerced into refusing to go up against Israeli opponents, resulting in funny articles like this one from Iran's PressTV:
Iran's team has pocketed seven medals during the second day of competitions at the 35th Dutch Open Taekwondo Championships in Eindhoven.

...Alireza Shakouri settled for bronze in the men's 54-kilo competition after refusing to face a contestant representing the Zionist regime in the semi-finals. Hadi Mosta'an also made the same decision when he came up against an Israeli opponent in the finals and opted for the silver.

In the women's competitions, Fatima Ne'mati took bronze after losing in a semi-final match against a British practitioner. However, Aitak Me'marzadeh, who could have walked away with the gold, decided not to face her Israeli rival and placed second.
What is noteworthy is that the international sports bodies refuse to penalize Iran for its behavior.

In 2004, an Iranian judo competitor refused to go up against an Israeli opponent in the Olympics, but he purposefully missed his weight so as to have a legitimate excuse to avoid sanctions from the International Judo Federation. Iran rewarded his scam with a $125,000 reward, the same amount it gives its gold medal winners, and praised him for his cowardice.