Iranian wrestler "deliberately" loses to avoid Israeli opponent next round

Iranian wrestler
Tue Nov 28, 2017 11:05:23

Freestyle Iranian wrestler Alireza Karimi chose to lose against Russia’s Alikhan Zhabrailov at the Senior U23 World Championship in Poland on Saturday (November 25) to avoid facing Israel’s Uri Kalashnikov in the next round.

(euronews) -- Iran does not recognise the state of Israel and has historically forbidden its athletes from competing against Israelis at international sporting events.

In a clip of the match shared by Iranian sports website,, a man’s voice can be heard telling Karimi “Bayad bebazi,” which translates to “you have to lose”. Soon after, the fight is shortly interrupted by the wrestler who goes to speak with a man who appears to be his trainer and returns to lose the match 3-14.

The Iranian Wrestling Federation issued a statement praising the Karimi’s decision to lose.

Calling Karimi a “hero”, the federation said it was the second time that the wrestler “stood against the oppression of the Palestinian people” at an international sporting event.