Video: Iranian fighter throws match to avoid clashes with his Israeli counterpart –

Video: Iranian fighter throws match to avoid clashes with his Israeli counterpart


In the U-23 Wrestling World Championship in Poland, an Iranian wrestler intentionally lost a game to avoid facing an Israeli in the next round. The incident, which is not an isolated occurrence, is another reminder that politics and diplomacy are never too far from sports fields and arenas.

The incident occurred last Sunday while the Iranian fighter Alireza Karimi (aka Alireza Karimimachiani) was competing against the Russian Alikhan Zhabrailov. Karimi was leading the tournament 3-2 with just one minute to go.

During this last minute, according to TrackWrestling Karimi's trainer started yelling at his fighter to lose. This was because Karimi's coaching staff realized that the winner of this match would face Uri Kalashnikov, an Israeli fighter, who at that time had set the American Sam Brooks to advance to the quarterfinals.

With Karimi apparently disinterested in the wishes of his coaches, the coaches launch a challenge block to create a break in action. During the break, the coaches again ordered Karimi to lose the game.

When the fight resumed, Karimi got up and walked calmly towards Zhabrailov. The Russian fighter then shot down the Iranian with ease. On the ground, and without resistance, Zhabrailov attacked Karimi with one ankle and rolled him five times to secure a 14-3 technical superiority victory.

You can see the moment below through the head of the Tehran bureau of the New York Times Thomas Erdbrink.

Iranian fighter Alireza Karimi about to beat Russia, but will have to face the next Israeli round. His coach called him from the side, telling him to "lose". Iran forbids its athletes to play against Israelis. The Iranian fighter gives up.

– Thomas Erdbrink (@ThomasErdbrink) November 27, 2017

Zhabrailov was going to win the gold in the 86 kilogram category of the tournament. Karimi was supposed to face the Israeli Kalashnikov in the playoff (for a blow to the bronze), but lost the game.

TrackWrestling commented that this is not the first time something like this has happened on the wrestling mat. In the World Cadet Championship last year, Iranian Seyedmehdi Hashemijouybari attracted the Israeli Lior Altshuler in the first round. Hashemijouybari lost the fight.

The Times of Israel stated that incidents like this also occurred in other sports. At the Olympic Games in Beijing in 2008, an Iranian swimmer refused to join the same group as an Israeli. At the Athens Olympics in 2004, an Iranian judoka refused to face an Israeli, which resulted in his disqualification.

After Israel was established in 1948, Iran was the second most Muslim country to previously recognize the new nation as a sovereign state. Turkey was the first. However, after the Iranian revolution of 1979, the new theocratic rulers of the nation rescinded their recognition of Israel. Formal relations between the two nations have been non-existent since then.

It is believed that part of Iran's platform of refusing to recognize Israel also refuses to compete against any team or individual that represents Israel in a sporting effort. For Karimi, this meant not facing Kalashnikov in Poland and thus losing her chance to get a much-appreciated gold medal.

NPR cited what Karimi told the semi-official Iranian Student News Agency after the competition. He said he was "told that the Israeli fighter defeated his American rival, and that I must lose to avoid facing an Israeli opponent." At one point, my entire world seemed to end. "

" I tried for months to get the gold medal worldwide, "Karimi added. "Achieving a world medal is the only happiness for any of us."

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