Iran’s Taekwondo Olympic medalist has announced on Instagram that she is defecting.
Taekwondo bronze medal winner, Kimia Alizadeh is Iran’s sole female Olympic medal winner. EVER.
She accused the Iranian government of “oppression,” “lying” and “injustice.”
She also wrote on social media, “I am one of the millions of oppressed women in Iran with whom they have been playing for years.”
How brave is this? Iran is believed to execute more people each year than any other country.
Wikipedia reports that Iran carried out at least 977 executions in 2015, at least 567 in 2016, and at least 507 in 2017. The key words are “at least.”
Treason is an executable offense.
According to the Daily Mail, an Iranian parliamentarian demanded answers and accused “incompetent officials” of allowing ‘Iran’s ‘human capital to flee” the country.
Coming just days after Iran admitted to shooting down a passenger jet and killing 176 people, this is a major blow and may be front-page news for the coming week.
I want to help you get in front of this news. You might want to consider reaching out to your local media on social media and suggest that you can provide some perspective as a fellow martial artist.
She said she just wanted three things, “Taekwondo, and a happy and healthy life.”
This assertion will no doubt bring worldwide attention to the sport.
Be careful how you handle this.
Resist the “Taekwondo was more important than her country..” or any similar exploitation.
Instead, share some expert insight that might be framed as, “She showed tremendous courage. Martial arts instills an indomitable spirit and this is exactly what we are witnessing on the world stage. As martial artists, we all admire her courage.”
The combination of shooting down the plane and Kimia’s defection may go down in history as the ultimate 1-2 punch to the end of the current Iranian regime.
No doubt, Kimia has opened the flood gates for many others to speak out or leave as well.
Right now, she is the face of the modern Iranian and she will be etched in history forever as a black belt revolutionary.
However, she is not the first martial artist to defect from Iran. In September 2019, Saeed Mollaei, an Iranian judoka, left the country for Germany.
See Iranian defector and taekwondo Olympic medalist Kimia Alizadeh compete.