Three years after a World Cup scandal of special proportions, former Iranian judoka Saeid Mollaei has now fought Israeli Sagi Muki after all.
Three years after a World Championship scandal of special proportions, former Iranian judoka Saeid Mollaei has now fought Israeli Sagi Muki after all – at the Grand Slam in Budapest. At the 2019 World Championships in Tokyo, Mollaei had lost in the semi-finals under pressure from his country’s federation in order to avoid having to fight the Israeli Sagi Muki for gold. There were threats against him and his family. After the World Championships, Mollaei left for Germany.
The IJF then banned the Iranian federation for four years for violating the Code of Ethics and the Olympic Charter. Mollaei, who was a folk hero in Iran, competed for Mongolia at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics as an Iranian citizen and won the silver medal. He now competes under the flag of Azerbaijan.
Mollaei defeated Sagi Muki in the third round in Budapest, after the decision both fighters hugged each other. On Instagram, Muki celebrated the fight as a “victory of sport over politics” and praised the “possibility of sport and friendship that can overcome all bridges”. Mollaei replied to him, “Thank you, brother. “