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InternationalThe athletes fleeing Iran come with the refugee team to Sofia

The athletes fleeing Iran come with the refugee team to Sofia

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Iranian athletes Kimia Alizadeh and Dina Purunes are arriving in Bulgaria as part of the Refugee Team, which has announced its participation in the 9th edition of the Ramus Sofia Open international taekwondo tournament.

The host of the competition until March 7 is the Bulgarian capital’s Ramada Hotel.

Alizadeh, 23, made history after becoming the first Iranian to win an Olympic medal during the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. In 2020, the bronze medalist from the Games in Brazil fled her homeland because of the “hypocrisy, lies and injustices” of the regime in Tehran. During the Olympics in Tokyo, Alizade created another sensation after beating one of the most titled athletes in the history of this sport – Jade Jones (UK).

In 2015, the 30-year-old Purjunes left Iran for the Netherlands. Later that year, he won his first medal at the Polish Open. This year, more than 1,000 competitors from 62 countries have entered the prestigious international tournament, and the competition is ranked “G2”.

In addition to the two legendary Iranian men’s dojanga athletes, we will see the winner of a silver medal from the Tokyo Games, Dejan Georgievski (Northern Macedonia). Also in the running are world champions Simone Alessio (Italy) and Jaud Achab (Belgium), silver medalist at the World Championships Adriana Iglesias (Spain) and world number two Rene Valenzuela (Mexico).

Sanctions imposed by the IOC over the war in Ukraine are the reason why Olympic champion from the Tokyo Games Vladislav Larin and world runner-up Georgi Popov, both from Russia, are not participating in the tournament.

On the first day of the tournament, the Bulgarian athletes performed excellently, winning 2 gold, 2 silver and 5 bronze medals. Erika Karabeleva and Hristian Georgiev became the champions in the boys and girls. Denis Dimitrov and Teodor Hristov won silver, and bronze medals went to Mihaela Georgieva, Veronika Zhecheva, Atanas Sbirkov, Martin Stoyanov and Radoslav Shabanakov.

Photo: Kimia Alizadeh is Iran’s first Olympic medalist

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