Judoka hugs Israeli competitor he was once forced to boycott due to politics

Saeid Mollaei is a prominent Persian Mongolian judoka. Mollaei was born in Iran and used to represent the country. He had become influential after capturing the Olympic silver medal in addition to the 2018 world championship.

There was a huge controversy when Iranian authorities ordered him to intentionally lose a match in the semi-final at the Tokyo 2019 World Championships, so as to avoid a potential match in the finals against Israeli 2019 world champion Sagi Muki.

After the incident he moved to Europe on a two year visa from Germany saying he was afraid to go back to Iran after exposing and criticizing how the authorities interfered in his professional career.

He has since become a citizen of Mongolia and dedicated 2020 Olympic medal to Mongolia. As of May 2022 he represents Azerbaijan.

At the Hungary Judo Grand Slam 2022 Saeid Mollaei was matched with Israeli 2019 world champion Sagi Muki once again. Mollaei was free to compete in the match this time and had even hugged it out with the Israeli judoka when the match was done in a great display of sportsmanship.

This was a an historic moment in many ways.