Iranian wrestler banned for throwing match

Iranian wrestler slapped with 6-month ban for throwing match to avoid Israeli opponent
2 min read
18 Feb, 2018
Wrestling's international body has banned an Iranian athlete and his coach after the wrestler deliberately lost a match at a competition.
Alireza Karimi [R] has been banned from competing for six months [AFP]

An Iranian wrestler has been banned from competing for six months by the sport's global body over his decision to deliberately throwing a match to avoid having to face an Israeli opponent.

Alireza Karimi was ordered by his coach to deliberately lose a bout against Russian opponent Alikhan Zhabrayilov in the Under-23 world championships in November.

Before the order, the Iranain had the upper hand over the Russian, who later went on to win gold at the competition in the Polish city of Bydgoszcz.

"Karimachiani, on instruction of his coach Jamshidi, wilfully lost his 1/8 finals match against Alikhan Zhabrilov," the chamber said, referring to the Russian opponent in the match.

"Both wrestler and coach were found to have acted in direct violation of the International Wrestling Rules... and the UWW Disciplinary Regulations," it added.

During the match, a man could be heard shouting instructions telling the Iranian athlete to lose. During a pause that followed, Karimihad an exchange with his coach, which was followed by a markedly different performance from his winning start.

If Karimi had won, he would have faced an Israeli competitor in the next round.

Iran does not allow its athletes to comete against Israelis in international competitions, in line with the Islamic Republic's policy of not recognising the state of Israel.

In line with the terms of the ban, which takes effect from the date of the incident, Karimi will be able to compete in late May 2018.

His coach, meanwhile, has been banned from the sport until November 2019.

Iran's wrestling federation has said it will challenge the bans on the athlete and coach.