Former world champion Saeid Mollaei defected from the Iranian judo team on Saturday and is seeking asylum in Germany, following a tournament in Japan.

Marius Vizer, president of the International Judo Federation, told Japanese media that Mollaei had asked his organization to help him escape from Iran and to be added to a team comprised of refugees in the Tokyo Olympic Games next summer.

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Vizer told the Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun that Mollaei told him the Iranian authorities had ordered him to throw the match against Israeli judoka Sagi Muki to avoid facing him. He followed his orders because the Iranians threatened his family.

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