Bydgoszcz, Poland : At the senior U23 World Championships in Bydgoszcz, Poland, Iranian wrestler, Alireza Karimi-Mashiani, was about to beat his Russian opponent Alikhan Zhabrailov and was leading 3-2, but will have to face an Israeli in the next round. His coach started shouting from the sidelines, telling him to lose – “AliReza, lose.”. Iran forbids its athletes to play Israeli’s. Iranian wrestler Alireza Karimi-Mashiani gave up and lost.
Iranian freestyle wrestler, Alireza Karimi-Mashiani had his eye on the prize at the U-23 World Championship in Poland, in the 86-kilo category : he was heading to certain victory against his Russian opponent on November 25.
All was good until his coach shouted from the sidelines “Ali Reza, lose.”
The Iranian wrestler, Alireza Karimi-Mashiani, shakes his head and continues, until his coach once again shouts at him. At that point, he stops making effort and throws the fight. Karimi was forced into the same dilemma in 2013.
Later, Alireza Karimi-Mashiani told the semi-official Iranian Students News Agency that he was “told that the Israeli wrestler defeated his American rival, and that I must lose to avoid facing an Israeli opponent,” adding “In a moment, my whole world seemed to come to an end.”
“I tried hard for months to get the world gold medal,” Alireza Karimi said. “Achieving a world medal is the only happiness for any of us.”
Iranian athletes are expected to refrain from competing against Israelis, reflecting the animosity between the two countries.
Iran has had a long-time policy of avoiding Israelis in athletic competitions, frequently at the expense of its own competitors. An Iranian swimmer refused to enter the same pool as an Israeli at the Beijing Olympics and in the 2004 Athens Games, an Iranian judoka refused to face an Israeli, resulting in his disqualification.”
The Senior U23 World Championships was held from the 21st to 26th this month in Bydgoszcz, Poland.
The government of Iran hailed Alireza Karimi-Mashiani as ‘hero’ wrestler for losing the match to avoid Israeli.
Alireza Karimi-Mashiani was praised for his “noble and heroic action” by the government as “a source of pride and praise,” while the country’s wrestling federation called him a “hero” and extolled his “sacrifice.”
“It is the second time that you have risen up against the oppression of the Palestinian people by abandoning your rights in an act of absolute submission,” the federation wrote.