A member of the Refugee Olympic Team will be facing off against an Iranian opponent in the taekwondo qualifying round in Tokyo.
Kimia Alizadeh, who left Iran in 2020, will go up against Nahid Kiyani Chandeh in the 57-kilogram event on Sunday. Her announcement came a day after Iranian officials admitted to downing a Ukrainian passenger plane, killing 176 people minutes after takeoff from Tehran’s international airport when “human error” mistook the civilian aircraft for a military one.
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She accused the Iranian government of “lying” and “injustice” toward Iranian athletes, adding all she wants is “taekwondo, security and a happy and healthy life,” according to AFP.
Alizadeh was the first Iranian woman to win an Olympic medal when she won the bronze at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games. She was 18 at the time. She was scrutinized for wearing the mandatory hijab headscarf, which she had to wear at the Olympics, and left Iran to live in Germany.
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“I have a great feeling to have made a decision for my life that would definitely change my future,” she said last year in Germany.
Alizadeh promised the Iranian people she would always remain a “child of Iran.”
Last month, Alizadeh was selected for the Refugee Olympic Team.
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Alizadeh has three total gold medals to her name, winning one each in the World Grand Prix, Youth Olympics and World Junior Championships.