Kimia Alizadeh: Iran′s top female athlete defects | Sports | German football and major international sports news | DW | 12.01.2020

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Kimia Alizadeh: Iran's top female athlete defects

Iran's only female Olympic medalist, Kimia Alizadeh, has said she has left the country permanently following accusations of mistreatment and sexism against officials. The 21-year-old is reportedly in the Netherlands.

Amid rising unrest in Iran following the accidental shooting down of a Ukrainian plane and simmering tensions with the USA, Iran's only female Olympic medalist, Taekwondo athlete Kimia Alizadeh, has announced that she has defected.

In an Instagram post on Sunday, the 21-year-old said she didn't want to be a part of "hypocrisy, lies, injustice and flattery" as "one of the millions of oppressed women in Iran".

"I wore whatever they told me and repeated whatever they ordered. Every sentence they ordered I repeated. None of us matter for them, we are just tools," she added.

Alizadeh, who made history when she won bronze in Taekwondo at the Rio Olympics as an 18-year-old, is believed to be training in the Netherlands, according to Iran's ISNA news agency.

She has claimed in the past that the Islamic Republic has used her as a propaganda tool and accused Iranian officials of sexism and mistreatment.

The ISNA agency reported that Alizadeh is hoping to still compete at the Tokyo Olympics later this year, but not under the Iranian flag.

jcs/mp (DPA, AP)