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Former Iranian Judoka Saeid Mollaei Dedicates Olympic Medal to Israel
Silver medallist Saeid Mollaei, the former Iranian judoka who competes for Mongolia, celebrates during the medal ceremony for the judo men's 81-kilogram contest during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Nippon Budokan on July 27, 2021. (Franck FIFE/AFP via Getty Images)

Former Iranian Judoka Saeid Mollaei Dedicates Olympic Medal to Israel

Former Iranian judoka Saeid Mollaei, who now competes for Mongolia, dedicated the silver medal he earned on Tuesday in the men’s 81-kilogram division to Israel. Two years ago, Mollaei fled the World Championships held in Tokyo for Germany after being ordered to lose in the semifinals to avoid facing Israel’s Sagi Muki in the final. The two judokas have become good friends since, and Mollaei trained with the Israeli national team ahead of the Olympics. “Thank you to Israel for the good energy. This medal is dedicated also to Israel. I hope the Israelis are happy with this win,” Mollaei said, adding in Hebrew: “Todah (thank you).” Muki, who was expected to medal for Israel, took 9th place in the competition.

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