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.

 

President of Iraq Kurdistan vows to avenge Yazidi minority

US agrees to ‘expedite’ arms sales to Gulf countries

Israel ex-security chiefs to Netanyahu: Accept Iran deal as ‘fait accompli’

Egypt leader amends electoral law

Saudi king cuts short French Riviera holiday

US may take 'additional steps' to defend allied fighters in Syria

Turkey will do 'whatever necessary' in fight against militants

PKK claims deadly suicide bombing against troops in eastern Turkey

Sudan rebels offered guarantees to attend talks

Pro-Hadi forces target rebel-held base as coalition forces enter Aden

Israel's president threatened over 'Jewish Terrorism' comments

French beach returns to public after departure of Saudi King

Syria army plane crashes in rebel-held town of Ariha

Iran bans newspaper owned by nuclear deal critic

More Yemen refugees look for shelter in Djibouti

Erdogan: Putin may give up on Assad

Yemen rebel leader says political settlement still possible

Kerry in Qatar for talks on Iran nuclear deal

UAE prosecutor refers 41 people to trial on terrorism charges

Kerry to Middle East allies: Iran deal will make region safer

Egypt court again postpones verdict in retrial of Jazeera reporters

Al-Nusra Front releases video to show ‘capture’ of US-trained rebels

Israel faces mounting pressure after baby killing in arson attack

'PKK suicide attack' kills two soldiers in eastern Turkey

Egypt court postpones verdict on brother of Ayman al-Zawahiri

Immigration surpasses economy as major concern in Europe

Plane crash kills family members of Bin Laden

Iraq protesters vent anger over poor services

ISIS flexes muscles in eastern Libya

Syria army pushes back rebels near Latakia province

Arbil urges PKK to move out of Iraq Kurdistan

Yemen government returns to Aden with eyes set on Sanaa

Erdogan calls for early elections if no coalition

Palestinian baby killed in arson attack by Jewish settlers

Kurds in Diyarbakir fear return to war

State of emergency in Tunisia extended

Jerusalem Gay Pride attack suspect lashes out in court

'Kurdish Obama' faces his biggest test

Yemen blockade 'killing' as many civilians as war

EU urges Israel to show 'zero tolerance for settler violence'

Cash-strapped Tunisia's Syphax airline grounds flights

Pentagon denies US-trained rebels captured in Syria

Morocco king calls for development of remote regions

Host of US celebrities endorses Iran nuclear deal

PKK braces for fight with Turkey in Iraq mountain bastions