Iranian women athletes fleeing world sports camps have made news recently.
Yekta Jamali won a silver medal in the 2022 International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) Junior World Championships. Parisa Jahanfekrian received the Tokyo Olympics quota for the first time in women’s weightlifting in Iran. Both Iranian women athletes have now left the country, seeking asylum in other countries.
Yekta Jamali disappears after winning a silver medal
Yekta Jamali, 17, won a silver medal in Greece’s 2022 International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) Junior World Championships.
On May 10, 2022, Yekta Jamali disappeared from a hotel in Athens, where the Iranian national team stayed. She left Iran’s national team after winning a silver medal.
The state-run IRNA News Agency and the vice president of Iran’s weightlifting federation confirmed that the sports champion was now missing. Ali Moradi, the federation’s president, will remain in Greece till finding Jamali and taking her back to Iran.
Yekta Jamali is the first Iranian female athlete to win medals in the world championships.
Yekta Jamali won the first world medal in Iranian women’s weightlifting last year at the Youth World Championships in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, earning silver in the 87kg weight class. She also won a bronze at the World Championships in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.
The weightlifting competition for the juniors’ world championships in Crete Island, Greece, started on May 2, 2022. Some 304 athletes from 61 countries took part.
Parisa Jahanfekrian also chose to emigrate
Parisa Jahanfekrian is another Iranian female athlete who received a quota in the Tokyo Olympics for the first time. Parisa Jahanfekrian emigrated to Germany. She announced the news on her Instagram account. In part, her post read, “I speak of a generation that did not believe in being forgotten. A generation that did not accept being humiliated and restricted.”
Parisa Jahanfekrian announced her decision 48 hours after the young Iranian weightlifter, Yekta Jamali, defected from the Iranian national team.
In an interview, Jahanfekrian said, “I felt that this is not my place anymore. I did not even have the primary weightlifting equipment, and nobody would help me. I think they will be happy with our departure.”
Iranian women athletes face numerous challenges and roadblocks. To be present in international arenas and follow their sports passions, they must acquire permits from the corrupt mullahs’ authorities. Although Iranian women athletes are winning more medals these days, they face added restrictions imposed by new legislation.