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Another Iranian Athlete Refuses To Return Home; Applying For Asylum

Pourya Jalalipour, an Iranian para-archer who is seeking asylum in the Netherlands.

An Iranian para-archer has sought asylum in the Netherlands, the president of the Islamic Republic's Archery Federation (IAf) confirmed a previous Radio Farda's report on Wednesday, September 4.

The state-run Iran Students News Agency (ISNA) cited Gholamreza Shabani Bahar as saying, "In spite of our efforts, Pourya Jalalipour is reluctant to return to Iran."

Pourya Jalalipour, already qualified for next Olympic Games in Tokyo, left the Iranian camp last July during World Archery Championship in the Netherlands.

IAF's president, who was accompanying the Iranian national side in the Netherlands, told Fars News Agency (FNA), "We cannot keep the athletes chained and shackled. An athlete should have a sense of patriotism."

Earlier in 2018, a member of the Iranian Wheelchair Basketball national side, Saman Balaghi, had also sought asylum at the end of the World Championship in Hamburg, Germany.

The Islamic Republic's authorities demand the Iranian athletes not to compete against Israeli athletes and to leave a bank guarantee before allowing them to travel abroad.

Meanwhile, all Iranian athletes are under tight security supervision during the competitions overseas.

Nevertheless, dozens of the Iranian athletes have managed to "disappear," and later apply for asylum.

As recently as last week, Iranian Gold medalist Judoka, Saeid Mollaei, disappeared during the Judo World Championship in Tokyo to resurface in Germany.

In an exclusive interview with Radio Farda, the 27-year-old judoka said that Iranian authorities had instructed him to withdraw from Judo's World Championships to avoid fighting against an Israeli athlete.

Saeid Mollaei lost a match in obvious indifference not to face an Israeli judoka. The International Judo Federation has confirmed the news about his asylum request and voiced support for Mollaei.

This week, world Bronze medalist in Judo, Mohammad Mohammadi Barimanlou decided to retire since he had to face an Israeli judoka in the current international judo championship.