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.

 

OPEC agrees deal to cut oil output

US Congress overrides Obama's veto of Saudi 9/11 bill

UN Libya envoy warns against ‘political impasse’

Morocco finally adopts Amazigh as official language

Saudi petition seeks 'full' rights for women

Palestinians react to death of Peres

Poverty takes toll in rebel-held Yemen fishing village

Kerry threatens to end negotiations with Russia on Syria

Kuwaiti court scraps petrol price hike

Iraq requests more US troops to take on IS in Mosul

Airstrikes hit hospitals in rebel-held Aleppo

Iran nuclear chief says not worried about Trump

Iranian, Italian ships hold manoeuvres in Strait of Hormuz

Gunmen kill three Egypt policemen, civilian in Sinai

Turkey says 32,000 coup suspects awaiting trial

Paris to host international meeting on Libya

Etihad plane in emergency landing in Abu Dhabi

Struggling Saudi Oger lays off 1,300 staff

Israel ex-PM to serve 27 months for graft

Syrian kids return to school in Manbij

World Bank releases $300 million for Syrian refugees in Jordan

Iranian FM in Ankara for Syria talks

Syrian army retakes rebel-held Aleppo district

Israeli ex-president Peres dies

Oil prices post marginal gains

Russia tries to strongarm US with Aleppo assault

Jordan vows crackdown on online incitement

Assad, Russia press intense Aleppo assault

Iran's Ahmadinejad says will not run for president

Boris Johnson dismisses Erdogan goat poem as 'trivia'

Turkey dismisses 87 spy agency staff over failed coup

Egypt recovers sunken boat, more bodies

Israel's Peres 'fighting for his life'

Bombings kill at least seventeen in Baghdad

Netanyahu chooses diplomacy in US election

Iran sets conditions for joining terror finance taskforce

Who is the destroyer of Timbuktu shrines?

Israel to charge Lieberman party officials in graft probe

Egypt detains owner of capsized migrant vessel

Countless bombings in Baghdad’s Karrada since 2003 US-led invasion

Clinton, Trump clash in fiery first presidential debate

Moroccan gets death threat messages over cartoon posted by killed Jordanian

Saudi king unveils austerity drive

Israel prosecutor general denies going easy on PM

Iran frees Iranian-Canadian academic