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.

 

Saudi delegation in Israel to promote stalled peace initiative

Air raids jeopardise much-needed medical care in Aleppo

Libya loyalists seize ISIS bomb factory in Sirte

Tunisia dissident, Mohsen Marzouk, opens new party congress

Iran destroys 100,000 ‘morally damaging’ satellite dishes

ISIS suicide bomber kills at least 15 in northern Baghdad

Turkey readies first cross-party rally to condemn coup

At least 61 people dead as ISIS claims twin blasts in Kabul

Iraq PM seeks to speed up death penalty implementation

Munich shooting had 'obvious link' to Breivik, not ISIS

EgyptAir flight broke up in midair after fire, evidence suggests

Palestinian village could soon cease to exist

Coalition warplanes strike Qaeda positions in southern Yemen

Turkey extends police powers, shutters over 1,000 private schools

Libya ‘NATO revolutionaries’ urge fight against French troops

Germany probes motives of 'lone' Munich mass killer

Russian warplanes targeted US, British outpost in Syria

Syrians harness Pokemon frenzy to depict their plight

Bodies of 14 'executed' people found in Libya's Benghazi

UN to help Turkey bolster tourism sector

France to supply weapons to Iraqi army

Turkey tensions fester in Germany

Israel official on first visit to Chad in 40 years

EU condemns 'unacceptable' Turkey purges

Iran stops 'terrorist infiltration' from Turkey

Moscow restarts air travel to Turkey

Assad says Erdogan is 'implementing his own extremist agenda'

Egypt's Sisi says 'serious efforts' made in Palestine peace process

43 civilians dead as regime bombards rebel-held areas in Syria

UN pleads for weekly 48-hour truce in Syria's Aleppo

Kuwait upholds death for Iran spy cell 'mastermind'

Iran arrests 40 over 'terrorist' plots

US-backed forces give IS '48 hours' to leave Syria's Manbij

Syria activists urge protests over deadly coalition raids

Kuwait issues ultimatum to Yemen negotiators

Turkey coup plotters go on trial in Greece

Mali renews state of emergency after deadly attack

Turkish President declares 3-month state of emergency

Libya unity govt blasts French military presence

Erdogan critics fear what may come next

ISIS bomb kills 4 in Yemen's Aden

Outrage after Syrian rebel group beheads child

Israel parliament passes law allowing expulsion of Palestinian MPs

Europol warns 'Lone wolf' terror attacks hard to track

Turkey blocks WikiLeaks email dump on ruling party