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Iran Rewards Judo Champion for Refusing to Fight Israeli

VOA - 08 Sep 2004

Iran has given world judo champion Arash Miresmaeili a $125,000 reward, saying he sacrificed a gold medal at the Athens Olympics by refusing to fight an Israeli.

State television showed Miresmaeili at an award ceremony Tuesday receiving the same sum as Iranian weightlifter Hossein Rezazadeh, who won his second straight Olympic super-heavyweight gold medal in Athens.

An Iranian sports official said Miresmaeili would have won the gold medal if he had competed, but that he had "followed the policies of the country" by refusing to fight against an Israeli.

When Miresmaeili was originally drawn against Ehud Vaks, Iranian officials said he would not fight the Israeli. The Iranian was eventually scratched, because he was too heavy to make his weight division.

The International Olympic Committee and International Judo Federation both refused to sanction Miresmaeili.

... Payvand News - 9/9/04 ... --

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