Khatami praises Iran world judo champion decision
Iranian President Mohammad Khatami in Tehran Sunday praised the "generous move" made by Iran's World judo champion Arash Mir-Esmaeili who pulled out of the Athens 2004 Olympic Games, as he was drawn to compete with an Israeli judoka Thursday.
In a message to Vice-President and head of the Physical Education Organization Mohsen Mehralizadeh, the president said the move by the Iranian World judo champion in protest of the massacre of Palestinian people by the Zionist regime will be recorded in the history of Iranian glories.
The dear Mir-Esmaeili is in hearts of all Iranian people and all freedom lovers throughout the globe, the message added, according to the official Iranian news agency IRNA.
The Iranian nation considers Mir-Esmaeili as the champion of 2004 Olympic games, the news agency added.
Mir-Esmaeili, Iran's under-66 kg judoka was scheduled to meet a representative from Israel in the opening round on August 15.
Speaking with IRNA, Mir-Esmaeili said, "Although I have trained for months and now enjoy an in-form build, I refused to face my Israeli rival in sympathy with the oppressed Palestinian people. "I am not upset for the decision I have made," he added. (Albawaba.com)
© 2004 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)