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Feel Good Olympics Story: Iranian Defector Dedicates Silver Medal to Israel


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Last Tuesday, the Tokyo Olympics featured a truly heartwarming moment when Iranian defector judoka Saeid Mollaei won the silver medal and dedicated it to Israel, as the Times of Israel reported. He fled to Germany and then moved to Mongolia, the country he represents now. This is his first Olympic medal. 


Mollaei defected from Iran after he was ordered to lose in the semifinals of the 2019 World Championships, rather than possibly face Israel's Sagi Muki in the finals.

As it turns out, Mollaei and Muki are good friends now. From the Times of Israel:

Mollaei told the Israeli Sports Channel that he was thankful for the support he’s received from Israel over the years.

“Thank you to Israel for the good energy. This medal is dedicated also to Israel,” he told the network. “I hope the Israelis are happy with this win.”

He added in Hebrew: “Todah” (thank you).

Muki congratulated his friend on his achievement, despite his own disappointing finish on Tuesday.

“I’m super happy for Saeid,” Muki told a press conference of Israeli reporters on Tuesday. “I know what he’s gone through, and how much he wanted it. He’s a very close friend of mine, and I’m so happy that he succeeded in achieving his dream. He deserves it — his journey is incredibly inspiring.”:snip:

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