Iran's only female Olympic medalist says she has defected – Al Jazeera English
Iran‘s only female Olympic medalist has announced she is defecting in a blistering online letter in which she described herself as “one of the millions of oppressed women” in the country.
Taekwondo champion Kimia Alizadeh, who won a bronze medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics, criticised Iran’s political system in a social media post on Sunday, accusing the country’s authorities of using her as a propaganda tool.
The 21-year-old implied in an Instagram post written in Farsi that she had moved to Europe but her location is unknown. Iran’s semi-official ISNA news agency reported earlier this month that Alizadeh had emigrated to the Netherlands.
“No one has invited me to Europe and I haven’t been given a tempting offer. But I accept the pain and hardship of homesickness because I didn’t want to be part of the hypocrisy, lies, injustice and flattery,” she said.
Alizadeh said the Islamic Republic’s authorities had attributed her success to their management and the fact that she wore a headscarf, which is obligatory for women in Iran.
“I am one of the millions of oppressed women in Iran whom they’ve been playing for years … I wore whatever they told me and repeated whatever they ordered. Every sentence they ordered I repeated,” she wrote.
“None of us matter for them, we are just tools.”
Alizadeh added that while the government exploited her sporting success politically, officials would humiliate her with remarks such as “It is not virtuous for a woman to stretch her legs!”
Mahin Farhadizadeh, a deputy Iranian sport minister, said he had not read Alizadeh’s post but that he believed she “always wanted to continue her studies in physiotherapy”, ISNA reported.
Alizadeh said at the time of her medal win in the 57kg category that it had made her happy for Iranian girls. However, in her post on Sunday, she appeared torn by her decision.
“Should I start with hello, goodbye or condolences? Hello oppressed people of Iran, goodbye noble people of Iran, my condolences to you people always mourning,” she wrote.
In the past week, 176 people, many of them Iranians with dual citizenship, were killed when the Iranian military mistakenly shot down a Ukrainian airliner on Wednesday.
Also on Wednesday, at least 56 Iranians died in a stampede at the funeral for military commander Qassem Soleimani, who was killed in a US air strike.
In her post on Sunday, Alizadeh said she wanted nothing more than “taekwondo, security and a happy, healthy life”.
Alizadeh is the third top Iranian sports person to stop representing the country in recent months.
In December, Iran’s chess federation said top-rated chess champion Alireza Firouzja had decided not to play for Iran over the country’s informal ban on competing against Israeli players.
Three months earlier, the International Judo Federation said Iranian judoka Saeid Mollaei had refused to return home over fears for his safety after he ignored orders from his national federation to pull out of fights to avoid a potential final meeting with an Israeli opponent.
Al Jazeera and news agencies
Toronto Maple Leafs: Treliving Hiring Shows Shanahan's Incompetence – Editor in Leaf
The problem isn’t that Brad Treliving is the newest GM of the Toronto Maple Leafs, but instead, it’s Brendan Shanahan’s explanation of it.
As previously mentioned, Brad Treliving is a good executive with a long hockey career, but he never should have been hired as the Toronto Maple Leafs GM.
Reports already indicate that the core-four will remain the same next year, which is fine, but why hire someone new if they’re going to do the same thing and not at least scare the roster that they could be moved?
A new GM is supposed to ignite change and bring a new approach to the game. It’s not someone who’s just going to re-do the job that Kyle Dubas just did.
When Shanahan fired Dubas, he wanted someone who had experience, which is what Treliving brings, but it’s not like he has a ton of winning experience. He’s never been to a Stanley Cup Finals before and only advanced to the second round twice in nine years in Calgary, so what’s really the difference between him and Dubas?
Nothing, at least not in terms of experience or success.
The only difference is that Shanahan is a bitter old-man who was scared that the young buck in Dubas was getting too much attention and that he might take his job one day.
Toronto Maple Leafs: New GM Brings Nothing Different From Dubas
If you look across the league, it’s crazy how much esteem Dubas has. By the way Shanahan described Dubas during his firing, it’s like he was only in the league for 10 minutes and didn’t have the respect of his peers.
Shanahan’s statement was actually hilarious when you compare his words to what other people have said about Dubas. Here’s what Shanahan said during his press conference:
“Treliving earned tremendous respect during his time in the NHL and built excellent relationships … We are confident that Brad’s leadership and strategic vision will elevate the Maple Leafs in our continued pursuit of a championship.”
As for Dubas, if you read Pierre LeBruns’ article in The Athletic last week, the same words were essentially said about him, here are some quotes from that article:
- Jarmo Kekalainen (Columbus Blue Jackets): “I have the utmost respect for Kyle, both as a professional and as a person. He’s always a straight shooter to deal with. No bulls—. Just an all-around really good person and a professional. All our discussions were straightforward and analytical. I think he has a very thorough approach to everything; you have to be prepared when you talk to him because he’s going to look at things from every angle. I have a lot of respect for him.”
- Bill Zito (Florida Panthers) : “Obviously, a very bright man. And a guy that I have a lot of faith in his character. He’s a guy you could do a deal with. And if it wasn’t papered, you could tell the (player) go ahead get on the plane. As an agent, we used to say if you did a deal with a GM and you didn’t have a contract back yet, would you send your player on the plane? That’s a level of respect I have for Kyle’s integrity. Obviously, I’m very fond of him. I think he did a hell of a job there.”
- The GMs of Nashville, Tampa and Edmonton were all quoted as saying really nice things about him as well.
All of these old-school and experienced GM’s said nothing but great things about Dubas, yet the Leafs didn’t want him. They explained all of the attributes that Shanahan wanted in a GM, yet they decided to move on and hire Treliving instead.
Shanahan took a bitter approach and gassed one of the most thoughtful and intelligent hockey minds of this generation and instead hired a guy who hasn’t doesn’t seem to be an improvement in any way.
No disrespect to Treliving because I think he’s going to do a fine job, but the explanation of Dubas’ firing gets dumber with every second and continues to show the incompetence of Shanahan as the President of the Toronto Maple Leafs.
How much are Stanley Cup Final tickets? – ESPN – ESPN
The Stanley Cup Final will return to Las Vegas and South Florida for the Florida Panthers vs. the Vegas Golden Knights. For fans of the Knights, who reached the Stanley Cup Final in 2018, tickets to the first two games at T-Mobile Arena are a bit cheaper this time around.
The average price for a ticket to Game 1 is $763, according to Vivid Seats data. In 2018, during the franchise’s first trip to the Final, the average was $1,062. That was the highest in recent years for a team making its Final debut or returning after a long drought. Last year’s Game 1 between the Tampa Bay Lightning and Colorado Avalanche had an average price of $1,052. The Avalanche, who hosted Game 1, were playing their first Final game since 2001. When the St. Louis Blues hosted their first Final game in decades in 2019, the average was $869.
For Saturday’s opening game, the lowest-priced available ticket is going for $405 on the Knights’ website, while TickPick lists a no-view, standing room only ticket for $311. The most expensive ticket is $9,750. These prices don’t reflect taxes or fees.
For Game 3, the Panthers’ first Stanley Cup Final home game since 1996, the average price for a ticket at FLA Live Arena is $628, according to Vivid Seats. At Ticketmaster, the Panthers’ ticket-seller, the lowest-priced ticket is $538. The most expensive ticket is reselling for $9,000 before taxes and fees. The average price for Game 4 is a bit higher at $689.
If the series goes to seven games, fans might need some extra casino winnings to get into the arena. Prices via the Knights’ website range from about $900 to $25,000.
NBA Finals Takeaways: Nuggets’ stars show they’re ready for biggest stage – Sportsnet.ca
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