Iranian judoka congratulates Israeli counterpart

"After 10 years of being afraid to contact or reply to me, it's over. Today I congratulated him on winning the medal."

Tags: Olympics
Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Saeid Mollaei
Saeid Mollaei
Reuters

The Iranian judoka Saeid Mollaei, who fled his country and represented the Mongolia team, posted an Instagram picture alongside Israeli athlete, Ori Sasson.

"After 10 years of being afraid to contact or reply to me, it's over. Today I congratulated him on winning the medal," Mollaei wrote.

Israel took home the bronze medal after defeating the Russian team in the mixed-team judo tournament after facing criticism for a lack of success in the area.

Israel lost the first match but went on to win the following three to lock up the medal.

On Saturday, team Israel lost out to France in a tightly-contested match, which required a tie-break to decide the outcome. Team France went on to win Gold by beating Japan 4-1 in the final.

Last week, Mollaei dedicated his medal to the State of Israel after winning the silver medal at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics.

"This medal is also dedicated to Israel, and I hope the Israelis are happy with this achievement," Mollaei said upon receiving his medal on Tuesday.

Mollaei made headlines after he ignored Iranian officials’ demands to withdraw from the World Judo Championships in order to avoid competing against an Israeli.

After losing in the semifinals of the competition – a result he says was affected by the emotional stress caused by the Iran officials request – he travelled to Germany to begin the process of applying for asylum.

He was recognized as a refugee in Germany in November of 2019.

Mollaei's change of nationality to Mongolia from refugee status was approved by the International Olympic Committee in March of 2020, and he represented Mongolia in the 2021 games.



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