Iran’s Only Female Olympic Medalist Defects Over ‘Lies’ and ‘Injustice’

The only female athlete to win an Olympic medal for Iran announced this weekend that she had defected from the nation because of “hypocrisy, lies, injustice and flattery” and said she had been used as a “tool.”

The Olympian, Kimia Alizadeh, 21, announced her decision in an Instagram post accompanied by a photo from the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro, where she won a bronze medal in taekwondo.

“They took me wherever they wanted,” she wrote. “Whatever they said, I wore. Every sentence they ordered, I repeated.”

Her comments came during a time of especially heightened tensions in the country after the Iranian authorities announced this weekend that the country’s forces had unintentionally downed a passenger plane last week near Tehran, killing all 176 people on board. The admission prompted outrage in the country and set off a series of protests over the weekend.

Mimoun El Boujjoufi, a taekwondo trainer in Eindhoven, told the Dutch broadcaster NOS that he had received a request about a month ago for Ms. Alizadeh to come train with him.

“She was on holiday in Europe but decided not to return to Iran with her partner,” Mr. El Boujjoufi told the broadcaster. “Of course she is welcome with us. We know her qualities. She is an asset to taekwondo in the Netherlands.”

A spokesman for the Netherlands’ migration minister said that the office would not comment on individual asylum applications.

Ms. Alizadeh was praised as a national hero after her Olympic victory at age 18, and by many in Iran saw her as a symbol for emboldening girls to take part in sports despite the country’s oppressive policies for women and girls.

Sahred From Source link World News

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