First Published: 2004-08-19

 
Miresmaeili escapes IJF punishment
 

IJF will not punish Iranian world judo champion suspected of intentionally gaining weight to avoid fighting Israeli opponent at Olympics.

 

Middle East Online

Miresmaeili denied the allegations

ATHENS - Iranian world judo champion Arash Miresmaeili, who was suspected of intentionally gaining body weight to avoid fighting an Israeli opponent at the Olympics, will not be punished by the International Judo Federation (IJF).

The IJF said Thursday that the 23-year-old Iranian had denied suggesting he would boycott his opening match against Israel's Ehud Vaks as a gesture of support for the Palestinian cause.

"As the IJF has no rule for penalising overweight athletes, the IJF executive committee decided not to take any sanction against Arash Miresmaeili," the world judo governing body said in a statement.

A special IJF panel was convened to examine the case and the double world under-66kg featherweight champion was interviewed for three hours on Wednesday.

The IJF statement quoted Miresmaeili as saying he had "made no statement of any sort to any press."

But he stirred controversy last week when he was quoted by the national Iranian news agency IRNA as saying: "Although I have trained for months and was in good shape I refused to fight my Israeli opponent to sympathize with the suffering of the people of Palestine and I do not feel upset at all."

When Miresmaeili showed up at the weigh-in early Sunday, he was five kilograms overweight, according to sources, and was disqualified from the competition.

The IJF set up the commission, made up of experts from various continental federations, to see if Miresmaeili, who carried his country's flag in the opening ceremony, had deliberately refused to make the weight.

In Tehran, Iran president Mohammad Khatami heaped praise on their judoka saying his protest would have been justified despite the heavily-favoured Miresmaeili giving up the chance to become the first Iranian to win an Olympic judo medal.

It was not the first time Iranians have declined to fight against Israeli opponents.

At the 2001 world judo championships, Mahed Malekmohammdi refused to face Yoel Razvozov while Asian champion Masoud Haji Akhoundzade also pulled out of a planned clash with Israeli lightweight Zvi Shafran.

 

5 killed in string of suicide bombings in Lebanon

Netanyahu lauds Israel’s deal with Turkey

Erdogan apologises to Putin over downing of Russia jet

One year on, Tunisia holds minute silence for beach massacre victims

Qatar uses high-tech solution to find perfect pitch

Deadly bombings target Yemen troops in ex-Qaeda bastion

NGOs press EU leaders on Africa migrant plan

Jordanian intelligence officials sold weapons for Syria rebels on black market

On British-Irish border, Brexit breeds worries for future

New lawyers of Gaddafi son urge ICC to drop case

Bahrain jails 5 people on charges linked to ‘terrorism’

Clashes continue at Al-Aqsa compound

Turkey allows German minister visit after air base row

UN chief tells Israelis, Palestinians 'stand firm against violence'

Brexit vote unlikely to curtail Gulf appetite for London property

Egypt cancels high school final exam after online leaks

Dozens killed as clashes intensify in Yemen

Sarraj says only united military can defeat ISIS in Libya

Jordan court charges 21 people with 'terrorism'

Iraq forces take ISIS last positions in Fallujah

Iran conceals heated military standoff in Kurdish region

Brexit vote lays bare depth of division across Britain

Young Britons vent anger at grey Brexit vote

Russia planes pound Aleppo as Syria regime forces closes in

Car bomb kills four civilians in Libya's Benghazi

US-backed Syria fighters edge further into ISIS border hub

Tunisia flaunts seaside security to bring back tourists

Britain and EU: A fraught divorce

Libya govt. forces repel ISIS counterattack in Sirte

Oil slides on British referendum result

Crashed EgyptAir black boxes to go to France for repairs

5,000 migrants rescued from rubber dinghies in Mediterranean

Britain votes to break away from EU, PM resigns

Turkey acquits British academic over 'terror propaganda' charges

24 jailed in Bahrain for forming IS cell

Iraq commander says forces control over 80% of Fallujah

Israel sentences 4 Palestinians to life

Turkey in new quest to patch up with regional foes

Defiant Bahrain moves to dissolve opposition bloc

Kurdish-Arab forces push into IS Syria bastion of Manbij

Yemen govt says rebels must withdraw before any transition

Turkey confirms new accession talks with EU

Saudi suspect found dead after gunfight in Shiite town

Suspended Kuwait sues IOC for damages

Erdogan lashes out at EU treatment of Turkey