Baku, Azerbaijan, Sept. 23
By Azer Ahmadbayli – Trend:
Iran's intransigence over a number of countries has long been present in sports.
As is known, the International Judo Federation (IJF) suspended the Judo Federation of Iran from participation in international tournaments after an incident at the 2019 World Cup in Tokyo. Iran is accused of exerting pressure on its judoka Saeid Mollaei, who was ordered by Iran’s officials to deliberately lose the fight in the semifinals in order to avoid the fight with an Israeli athlete in the final.
The Iranian authorities consider the decision of IJF unfair.
A couple of days ago, presenters of the program on Iranian TV Channel 3, dedicated to the incident, assured the domestic audience that there are many countries in the world whose authorities forbid their athletes to meet with representatives of the "enemy" country, giving several examples of Russia and Ukraine, Serbia and Montenegro, Azerbaijan and Armenia and others.
To put it mildly, the presenters of the program could have been more convincing. The whole of Europe watched the Armenian sports delegation walking along the track of the Olympic stadium in Baku with the flag of their country raised at the First European Games held in Azerbaijan in 2015. Every year Armenian and Azerbaijani wrestlers, judokas, chess players and boxers meet each other at various competitions.
The same is true for athletes of Russia and Ukraine, Serbia and Montenegro.
It is obvious that the state media, fulfilling the will of Iran’s highest political leadership, had, not for the first time, to justify its decisions in the eyes of ordinary Iranians, and misled the Iranian audience with false facts.
As is apparent from the comments in social networks, a significant majority of Iranians believe that the policy should not be brought into sports, and that Saeid Mollaei has been treated unfairly.
Iran’s social media users comment on the report that the activities of the Iranian judo Federation have been suspended: "God willing, football will be also canceled," referring to Iran's restricting women from attending footballmatches. Another user writes: “Well done. I hope that all sports will suspend [their activities] until all restrictions are lifted.”
What is more important – to uphold national honor of the country raising its flag at the international competitions, or to uphold national honor leaving a tatami?
Everybody’s got their own answer, but I know for sure that if Saeid competed in the final and became the world champion, all of Iran would have been proud of that.