Skip To Content

Support the Forward

Funded by readers like you DonateSubscribe
Fast Forward

Iranian Wrestler Throws Match To Avoid Facing Israeli

JERUSALEM (JTA) — An Iranian wrestler acknowledged that he threw a bout at an international championship where he was favored for a gold medal rather than face an Israel challenger in the next round.

Alireza Karimi-Mashiani, 23, told the Iranian Students’ News Agency that when his coaches told him he would have to throw his match against Russia’s Alikhan Zabrailov, “the world came crashing down on my head.”

The United World Wrestling championship for under-23 took place Saturday in the Polish city of Bydgoszcz.

He was in the middle of his match with the Russian wrestler, which he was winning decisively, when his coaches began calling on him to lose the bout, according to video footage of the match.

“Alireza lose,” “you need to lose,” his coaches are heard on the video calling to him. His coach then called for a break in the match to talk to the wrestler, who afterwards lost the match.

Zabrailov won gold in the 86-kilogram category, and Israel’s Uri Kalashnikov took the bronze medal.

“I could have easily become the world championship, but this prevented it. I made it easy for my Russian opponent, and this made him a finalist,” Karimi-Mashiani told ISNA. “I worked for months to get the gold medal and I could easily have gotten the gold medal of the world. I admit that Israel is cruel and oppressive, but if the officials of our sport can so easily ignore my work, is not it cruel? The wrestlers do not have a good financial situation, and only the pleasure for all of us is to win a global medal.”

Iran does not recognize the state of Israel and forbids its athletes from competing against Israelis at international sports events.


  • Events

    Haart to Haart


    Dec 7, 2022

    7 pm ET · 

    A conversation with Julia Haart and her son Shlomo, stars of Netflix's 'My Unorthodox Life,' about the new season and much more.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.