Iran protests ban on wrestler who threw bout to avoid Israel

In this file photo taken on August 20, 2016 shows USA’s J’den Michael Tbory Cox (red) wrestling with Iran’s Alireza Mohammad Karimi Mashiani in their men’s 86kg freestyle quarter-final match during the wrestling event of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Carioca Arena 2 in Rio de Janeiro. (AFP)
Updated 17 February 2018
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Iran protests ban on wrestler who threw bout to avoid Israel

TEHRAN: Iran’s wrestling federation said late Friday it would protest a decision to ban one of its athletes and the national coach for deliberately throwing a match to avoid fighting an Israeli opponent.
Alireza Karimi Mashiani threw a match against his Russian opponent in the under-23 world championships in Poland in November to avoid fighting Israel’s Uri Kalashnikov in the next round.
The Islamic republic does not recognize the Jewish state, placing it in the same “Great Satan” category as the United States, and forbids its sportsmen from competing against Israelis.
On Friday, the United World Wrestling Disciplinary Chamber banned Karimi Mashiani from competition for six months, and banned his coach Hamidreza Jamshidi for two years.
“The federation will protest the verdict,” Iran Wrestling Federation president Rasoul Khadem said on state television.
Khadem blamed the ban on pressure from the International Olympic Committee, which he said was itself “under the influence of big political and economic powers of the world.”
“During his six-month ban, Karimi Mashiani can take part in domestic competitions and in the final stage of the national team selection.
“His ban will be over before the 2018 Jakarta Asian Games and the World Championship,” Khadem added.
Karimi Mashiani threw his quarter-final bout against Russian Alikhan Zhabrayilov in the under-86 kilogramme freestyle contest.
Footage shows him leading in the match until his coach starts shouting “Alireza, lose” from the sidelines.
Karimi Mashiani then repeatedly rolled over to hand his opponent a dozen points and victory.
He also refused to take the mat against an Israeli opponent at the World Championships in Hungary in 2013.
The United World Wrestling Disciplinary Chamber found that Karimi Mashiani “on instruction of his coach Jamshidi, wilfully lost his quarter finals match against Alikhan Zhabrayilov.”
“Both wrestler and coach were found to have acted in direct violation of the International Wrestling Rules and the UWW Disciplinary Regulations,” it said in a statement.
Iran said it had fought for months to limit the impact of the decision and reduce the proposed fine.
A statement from the Iran Wrestling Federation on its website said such situations were bound to recur and be even “more serious and complicated” in future.
“It is hoped that a solution is thought of by competent authorities for resolving this issue.”


Al-Ain mount stunning comeback to reach FIFA Club World Cup quarters

Updated 13 December 2018
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Al-Ain mount stunning comeback to reach FIFA Club World Cup quarters

  • Al-Ain’s Sweden striker Marcus Berg came off the bench to score a dramatic 85th-minute equalizer, forcing extra time
  • It went to penalties, but despite a miss by Berg, Al-Ain won the shootout 4-3 to book a last-eight clash with Esperance

AL-AIN, United Arab Emirates: Home team Al-Ain fought back from three goals down to draw 3-3 with Team Wellington before winning on penalties to reach the Club World Cup quarter-finals on Wednesday.
The Emirati outfit fell 3-0 down inside 44 minutes as Mario Barcia, Aaron Clapham and Mario Ilich scored for Oceanian champions Wellington.
But Japanese international Tsukasa Shiotani pulled one back on the stroke of half-time, before Malian midfielder Tongo Doumbia grabbed a second goal less than four minutes into the second period.

And Sweden striker Marcus Berg came off the bench to score a dramatic 85th-minute equalizer, forcing extra time.
It went all the way to penalties, but despite a miss by Berg, Al-Ain won the shootout 4-3 to book a last-eight clash with CAF Champions League winners Esperance from Tunisia on Saturday.