Iranian Wrestlers Refuse To Compete Against Israel

Iranian Wrestlers Refuse To Compete Against Israel



The world of judo isn’t the only arena where things are getting political. In Poland during the ongoing U23 World Championships things took a strange turn.

Olympian and 2015 Senior-level World bronze medalist Alireza Karimimachiani entered the men’s freestyle tournament as a title favorite at 86 kilograms — at least until midway through his opening-round bout.

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At some point during Karimimachiani’s match against Russia’s Alikhan Zhabrailov, the Iranian coaching staff realized what was looming next in the bracket. On the opposite end of Artego Arena, Israel’s Uri Kalashnikov had just pinned American Sam Brooks to set up a quarterfinal between the Israeli and the Karimimachiani-Zhabrailov winner.

With Karimimachiani leading 3-2 early in the second period, the Iranian coaches tossed in the challenge block for no apparent reason other than to stop the action. They then began yelling instructions to their wrestler.

Prior to a restart later in the period, Karimimachiani turned sideways — almost defenseless — in front of Zhabrailov, surrendering a takedown before offering little resistance as the Russian ankle-laced him for five turns and a 14-3 technical superiority win.

Zhabrailov went on to win the 86-kilogram gold Saturday, registering a 10-0 tech against Kalashnikov in the quarterfinals.

Karimimachiani forfeited to Kalashnikov in the repechage and the Israeli went on to claim the bronze.

This is not the first time this has happened in wrestling either – last year in the first round of last year’s Cadet World Championships  Iranian Seyedmehdi Hashemijouybari drew Israel’s Lior Altshuler and forfeited the 100-kilogram bout.