Saeid Mollaei, Persecuted Iranian, Medals Silver In Judo Olympics

Persecuted Iranian, Saeid Mollaei took home silver today at the Judo Olympic Games. The Mongolian representative went on a tear in the men’s 81 kilogram division barely falling short in the final match with Japan’s Takanori Nagase. There was no bad blood, however, as Mollaei’s sportsmanship shined bright through his run.

Mollaei’s run to the finals was not an easy one. In the round of 32, he beat Kazakhstan’s Didar Khamza. The round of 16 was tougher. Saeid Mollaei took on Azerbaijan’s Murad Fatiyev by a score of 1-0. That close match gave the Mongolian Judoka some momentum, however.

Mollaei came through the elite 8 and dominated Georgia’s Tato Grigalashvili 10-1. Georgians are notoriously good at judo with their chidaoba (the local folk style of wrestling) background. His next match was against Shamil Borchashvili of Austria. He won that 10-0.

Mollaei dropped the final match and earned a silver medal against Nagase. Takanori Nagase was the first Japanese judoka to win a gold medal since Makoto Takimoto did in the 2000 Sidney Olympic Games. The match was a chess match with Nagase winning 1-0.

The Persecution of Saeid Mollaei

Saeid Mollaei’s path to the Olympic Games has been harder than most. In addition to the COVID-19 pandemic that rocked the entire Olympic world, Mollaei had to deal with persecution in his home country of Iran after coming out about being forced to throw a match to avoid a showdown with an Israeli judoka.

Read about Saeid Mollaei’s story at the 2019 Judo World Championships here.

With the Olympic Games being the pinnacle of sport, specifically in judo. With Mollaei’s capture of the silver medal, it puts his story under the microscope with many not talking about his story and Iran’s un-Olympic behavior under scrutiny. While Nagase’s win is great, much of the talk has been on Mollaei and his path to the Olympic Games.

Iran has a history of mistreating athletes. Below is our complete coverage on the country’s human rights violations.


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