Sajjad Ganjzadeh speaks out on Iran’s refusal to compete against Israeli athletes

Sajjad Ganjzadeh, Iran’s Olympic Gold Medalist, has spoken out against his home country’s pulling of athletes from competition for political purposes. The Iranian posted on Instagram a condemnation of Iran’s pulling of athletes from competition in threat of competing against Israeli athletes.

In a now-deleted Instagram post had Ganjzadeh said in his post, “We cannot tolerate this anymore. Not competing is more difficult than competing.” Iran has long held athletes from competition when faced with the possibility of facing an Israeli athlete.

Sajjad Ganjzadeh and the Olympic Gold

For Sajjad Ganjzadeh to stand up to Iran while living inside the country takes courage. But maybe he believes his gold medal at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games in karate. His fight was controversial as Ganjzadeh was knocked out by Saudi Arabia’s Tareg Hamedi. But the strike was deemed illegal and Ganjzadeh was handed the victory and the medal.

Ganjzadeh has also won gold at several Karate1 Premier events, the Asian Games and won silver at the World Championships in 2018.

Regardless, Ganjzadeh is standing up to the regime’s unsportsmanlike policy against Israeli athletes. Most notably, Saeid Mollaei was held from competition in the sport of Judo due to a potential matchup with Israel’s Sagi Muki. After fleeing the country and seeking refuge, Mollaei went on to take silver in the Olympics for the country of Mongolia.

Iran, of course, has a long history with the mistreatment of not only it’s athletes, but it’s citizens as well. Executions, long imprisonments, and threats from the regime have been around for years and doesn’t seem to be letting up despite cries from

In September of 2020, the world had it’s attention brought to Iran’s cruelty to it’s citizens as it sentenced Navid Afkari, a wrestler from Iran, to death. The entire combat sports world called for mercy for Afkari with even UFC president Dana White and then-president Donald Trump calling for his release. Despite the pleas, Afkari was executed.

Since then, Iran has arrested Reza Tabrizi, Mohammad Javad Vafaei, and executed Mehdi Ali Hosseini, and Ali Mutairi.

I’ve covered Iran for some time now. Please brush up on all the stories below to know just how bad the country can be.

Blaine Henry

Just your friendly neighborhood fight fan!

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