Iranian Defector Dedicates His Olympic Medal to Israel




A judo champion who defected from Iran two years ago after refusing to be pressured to back out of sparring with a Jew won silver in the Tokyo Olympics Tuesday and dedicated his victory "to Israel."


Saeid Mollaei's second-place finish in the men's 81 kg judo final was the first medal he has won in an Olympic competition. At the 2019 Judo World Championships, Mollaei, who was a rising star on Iran's judo team, was ordered by an Iranian official to withdraw from a match rather than spar with Israeli competitor Sag Muki. Mollaei refused the order and instead defected to Germany. He then went on to becom