According to an Instagram post by the Olympic medalist, she cites Iran’s oppressive treatment towards women as her primary reason for permanently leaving. She further accused the Iranian government for exploiting her athletic success claiming that she is “one of the millions of oppressed women in Iran”.
Kimia Alizadeh won a bronze medal in the taekwondo 57kg weight class in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. She also won a silver medal at the 2017 World Taekwondo Championships.
In the lengthly Instagram post, the 21-year-old medalist begins with asking “Should I start with hello, goodbye or condolences?”.
On January 9th, an Iranian state-run news outlet, RadioFreeEurope, reported that Alizadeh had defected to the Netherlands where she intends to try for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo with a different country’s team. Alizadeh did not confirm this news.
The athlete did not specify where in Europe she will be shifting to and what her future athletic plans will be, although she did mention in the Instagram post that her top priorities are taekwondo, her security and a healthy and happy life.
In the post, she further accused the Iranian government for exploiting her athletic success while condemning her for being a woman stating, “they put my medals on the obligatory veil and attributed it to their management and tact”.
Alizadeh further added that she had not been invited to defect to Europe, rather, this was a personal decision she made choosing to “accept the pain and homesickness” over the “corruption and lies” in Iran.
“My troubled spirit does not fit into your dirty economic channels and tight political lobbies” she wrote. “None of us matte to them”.
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