Sunday, August 10, 2008

Iran swimmer avoids Israeli pool showdown in Beijing

COWARDS...I guess they were afraid to go back to Iran if they lost to an Israeli? That would be a death sentence....

An Iranian swimmer pulled out of the Olympic Games men's 100m breaststroke heats on Saturday, just minutes before he was due to compete against an Israeli rival.

Mohammad Alirezaei's lane one was empty when the field left the starting blocks while Israel's Tom Beeri, starting in lane seven, finished fourth.

Israel, the Middle East region's sole if undeclared nuclear power, considers Iran its main strategic threat because of its nuclear programme and repeated predictions of the Jewish state's demise by senior Iranian leaders.

During the 2004 Athens Olympics, Iran's judo world champion Arash Miresmaeili, one of the country's prominent gold medal hopes, refused to compete against Ehud Vaks of Israel in the first round out of solidarity for the Palestinian cause.

Miresmaeili, twice a winner of the flyweight world title, still received a 5,000-dollar award the Iranian National Olympic Committee had promised to medal winners and he was hailed by former President Mohammad Khatami for his stance.

Beeri made no mention of Saturday's non-appearance of Alirezaei post-race.

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