Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise
Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise
Illustration for article titled Iranian Olympian Comes Down With Mysterious Infection To Avoid Facing An Israeli

For 33 years, Iranian athletes have forfeited or withdrawn to avoid matching up against Israeli athletes in international competition. It was all supposed to change in London. Earlier this week, Bahram Afsharzadeh, the head of Iran's Olympic committee, said "we will be truthful to sport. We just follow the sportsmanship and play every country."


That very same day, the Tehran Times reported that Iranian judokan Javad Mahjoub would be withdrawing from the Olympics with "a gut infection." Why does this matter? Mahjoub, in the 100kg judo competition, was the only Iranian athlete who could possibly have matched up against an Israeli—in this case, 2004 bronze medalist Arik Ze'evi. Mahjoub's doctor reportedly put him on a 10-day course of antibiotics, during which he can not compete. This was announced precisely 10 days before the 100kg judo competition begins.

Perhaps we ought to give him the benefit of the doubt, and not assume he's pulling a little Jew Jitsu to keep up the decades-old tradition of refusing to recognize Israel's nationhood. He might've just eaten some British food.

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