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Weightlifter banned from sport for life after being spotted shaking hands with competitor
Featured Image Credit: IMWA World Masters Weightlifting Championship

Weightlifter banned from sport for life after being spotted shaking hands with competitor

Iranian weightlifter Mostafa Rajaei has been banned for life after shaking hands with an Israeli competitor in Poland

Weightlifting just got political after two competitors dared to shake hands in sportsmanship, leading to a lifetime ban.

Tensions have been high between Iran and Israel for over six decades after Iran voted against the United Nations Partition Plan for the British Mandate of Palestine and it’s only gotten worse in recent years.

As Iran doesn’t recognise Israel as an independent nation, it has led to conflict which has been shown across global news.

But, when it comes to sports, the two countries have seemed pretty amicable.

Unfortunately, an amicable handshake just won’t fly for the Iran Weightlifting Federation.

Mostafa Rajaei has been banned for life after shaking hands with Israeli competitor.
Instagram/ @mostafa.rajaee

Mostafa Rajaei is an Iranian weightlifter who participated in the World Masters Weightlifting Championships in Poland alongside Israeli competitor, Maksim Svirsky.

The New York Post noted that not only does Iran not recognise Israel, but it also disallows any contact between Iranian and Israeli athletes.

This meant that a simple handshake between competitors broke an important rule in Iranian athletic conduct.

For instance, in 2021, Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei asked competitors "not to shake hands with a representative of the (Israeli) criminal regime to obtain a medal."

It even went a step further when Iranian athletes were given medical certificates and disqualified from the game in order to avoid Israeli athletes.

The federation has strictly prohibited contact between Iranian and Israeli athletes for years.
Instagram/ @mostafa.rajaee

Now, the federation has announced the consequences of what could be seen as a friendly gesture.

They said: "The weightlifting federation bans athlete Mostafa Rajaei for life from entering all sports facilities in the country and dismisses the head of the delegation for the competition, Hamid Salehinia.”

The federation called the handshake "unforgivable," and fired Salehinia as a result of the transgression, according to Forbes.

The federation claimed that Rajaei had been "sent with the support of the federation” but then "crossed the red lines of the Islamic Republic" by his act of sportsmanship.

Though Rajaei is now technically a former member of the Iranian weightlifting team, his great feat of placing second overall in the men's over-35 age group in the 240-pound division at the event was no small win as he even broke the world record for the clean and jerk with a lift of 430-pounds.

Rajaei took to Instagram to share how challenging his world record had been.
Instagram/ @mostafa.rajaee

Taking to Instagram after the event, Rajaei admitted that he “could not work well” due to pain in his elbow but “in the two beats of God and gratitude, I became the first, and moved the world record by one kilogram. I came in second over all.”

Little did he know that this would be his last chance to break a weightlifting record.

Topics: Iran, Israel, Sport, News, World News

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