(wink and nod to my Jewish friend “muppetmel” for the play on words
Seems Iran’s world Judo champ doesn’t want to compete against a formidable opponent – who also happens to be Israeli. Olympics officials are doing their best to put the most positive (or PC, rather) spin on this by stating:
The official reason at the Games for Miresmaeili’s non-appearance was failure to make the weight but judo chiefs questioned how a seasoned athlete, who carried Iran’s flag at Friday’s opening ceremony, would have made such a basic error.
But the real reason is:
But in Tehran, the Iranian National Olympic Committee said in a statement: “This is a general policy of our country to refrain from competing against athletes of the Zionist regime and Arash Miresmaeili has observed this policy.”
Iran has refused to recognize Israel’s right to exist since Islamic fundamentalists toppled the Shah in 1979.
Miresmaeili, who had been due to fight Israeli Ehud Vaks, was quoted by Iran’s official news agency IRNA as saying he acted in solidarity with the Palestinians.
“Although I have trained for months and am in shape I refused to face my Israeli rival in sympathy with the oppressed Palestinian people,” said Miresmaeili, 66 kg world champion in 2001 and 2003. “I am not upset about the decision I have made.”
Coward. The man has forfeited the match. Forget any penalties to the Iranian team. This loser has thrown in the towel.
Very fitting, I must say.
BTW, I wonder how the ratings will be for the Olympics this year? I’ve hardly watched. Watching the Men’s Basketball team play right now but will be switching at 3 to watch a movie
Update: Dan Wetzel at Yahoo Sports has just about influenced me to change my opinion on penalizing the entire Iranian Olympics team. He suggests tossing all of them out of the Olympics.