Whereas competing in Tokyo, Mollaei claims his coach acquired two calls from the Iranian authorities instructing him to withdraw his fighter from the event to keep away from the potential for assembly Israeli judoka Sagi Muki within the closing.
The 27-year-old Mollaei ignored the warnings, however regardless of shedding within the final 4 he fears repercussions again house in Iran. For years, Iranian athletes have been prohibited from competing towards Israelis.
“Even when the authorities of my nation informed me that I can return with none issues, I’m afraid. I’m afraid of what may occur to my household and to myself.
“At this time, the Nationwide Olympic Committee of Iran and the Sport Minister informed me to not compete, that I needed to adjust to the regulation. I’m a fighter.
“I wish to compete wherever I can. I stay in a rustic whose regulation doesn’t allow me to. We’ve got no selection, all athletes should adjust to it. All I did immediately was for my life, for a brand new life.”
Earlier historical past
Mollaei and Muki’s potential struggle within the World Judo Championships ought to have been an historic alternative.
However after progressing by way of the opening two rounds of the World Championships with relative ease, Mollaei informed the IJF his coach acquired a name from the Iranian first deputy minister of sport Davar Zani. He opted to struggle on, and beat Russia’s Olympic champion Khasan Khalmurzaev.
Forward of his semifinal conflict with eventual champion Matthias Casse of Belgium, Mollaei says a second name got here from Iranian Olympic Committee president Reza Salehi Amiri, informing him that Iranian Nationwide Safety had visited his guardian’s home.
Mollaei, the defending -81kg champion, believes that with out the emotional stress he may have retained his title in Tokyo.
“I may have been the world champion. I have been coaching onerous, making plenty of efforts,” mentioned Mollaei, who was reportedly in tears backstage after listening to the decision.
“At this time, I fought and gained towards an Olympic champion, an Olympics bronze medalist and different opponents. I beat all of them.
“I even dreamed of the championship title immediately. However that was not my destiny: I couldn’t compete due to the regulation in my nation, and since I used to be terrified of penalties for my household and myself.”
An inclusive sport
Following the discharge of the story on its web site, the official IJF Twitter account title has modified to “#ISupportMollaei”.
IJF president Marius Vizer mentioned in a press release: “Judo is a sport primarily based on values and ideas, all motion that we take are to start with to guard and for the curiosity of the athletes whereas staying true to the beliefs of Judo.
“The Judo household is totally supporting our athletes and striving to set an instance for humanity with the goal of displaying integrity and respect. We’re competing for a greater World.”
Vizer added in a Twitter query and reply session Monday: “Quickly the process towards Iranian Judo Federation will begin and we are going to act accordingly to our guidelines, judo ideas and Olympic constitution.”
The Worldwide Olympic Committee informed CNN in a press release: “After studying in regards to the case, the IOC has requested a full report from IJF. Based mostly on this report we are going to additional consider the scenario.”
CNN have reached out to the Israel Judo Federation and the Iran Judo Federation for remark.