Friday, September 24th 2021   |

Iran’s judo team suspended from international matches until 2023 for refusing to face Israeli opponents

(JTA) — The Iranian national judo team was suspended from international competition until September 2023 for forfeiting matches against Israeli opponents due to a boycott.

Iranian-born judoka Saeid Mollaei competing for Mongolia at a tournament in Tel Aviv, Feb. 19, 2021. Mollaei left Iran after being forced into avoiding matches with Israeli athletes. (Jack Guez/AFP via Getty Images)

The decision extends an ongoing suspension of the Iran Judo Federation that began in 2019, according to a statement from the International Judo Federation. In March, the international group said it would drop the suspension if Iran guaranteed it would allow its judokas to fight Israelis.

This decision reaffirms the ban and appears to preclude Iran from competing in judo in the Tokyo Olympics this summer.

The original ban was instituted when an Iranian judoka said he had been ordered to throw matches at the 2019 World Judo Championships in order to avoid fighting an Israeli, Sagi Muki, who went on to win the tournament.

The statement called Iran’s policy “a scheme whereby the Athlete was required to lose before even getting to the point where he had to face an Israeli athlete in an attempt to disguise the underlying true motive from the IJF and the public.”

Share Button