Iranian Wrestling Codes

by FRANK GARCIA

Alireza Karimi-Machiani is a wrestler that represents the country of Iran. During the past weekend he wrestled at the U-23 World Championships in Poland. In his match with a Russian opponent, he was winning 3-2 and was in complete control of the match. While Alireza was in his match, his coach saw that if he won he would have to face an Israeli opponent. At that time he screamed “Alireza lose!” Alireza refused at first but ultimately threw in the towel during the second period when his opponent easily took him down and leg laced him to the win.

The reason the coach made him do that was because an Iranian athlete may never face an Israeli opponent. After his match Karimi told an Iranian News outlet, “I was told that the Israeli wrestler defeated his American rival, and I must lose to avoid facing an Israeli opponent.” After that he said, “I have trained hard for months to win a gold medal, and it was easy for me to win” Later in the interview he claims, “I do accept that Israel is an oppressor and commits crimes” Ultimately Alireza is upset with the fact that he has had to throw away his dream of a gold medal twice now and says “but would it not be oppression if our authorities undermine my hard work again?”

Sadly Alireza does not have much control over situations like these because he knows how easily he could be cut out and never wrestle another day of his life. Two other soccer players from Iran got in trouble for playing in a league soccer game against an Israeli club. One was kicked off the team and the other had to apologize to the entire nation. Iran views Israel as a “tumorous cancer” and wants no association with them.