Iran’s Olympic medallist defects

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Nicosia

Iran’s only female Olympic medallist Kimia Alizadeh announced Saturday she has permanently left her country, citing the “hypocrisy” of a system she claims humiliates athletes while using them for political ends. “Should I start with hello, goodbye, or condolences?” she wrote on Instagram, as Iran reeled from Wednesday’s accidental shooting down of a Ukrainian airliner that killed all 176 people onboard. Alizadeh, who won a bronze medal in taekwondo at the 2016 Rio Olympics, cited oppression by authorities in the Islamic republic. Criticising Iran’s political system for “hypocrisy”, “lying”, “injustice” and “flattery”, she said she wanted nothing more than “taekwondo, security and a happy and healthy life”. “I am one of the millions of oppressed women in Iran with whom they have been playing for years,” the 21-year-old wrote. —AFP