IRANIAN wrestler Ali Reza Karimi threw a match to avoid taking on an Israeli in the next round, he claimed on Monday night.
Karimi told the ISNA news agency that his coaches told him to lose with just one minute left in his Under-23 World Championship match against Russian Alikhan Zhabrailov.
He said: “In a moment, my whole world seemed to come to an end.”
Iranian athletes traditionally refrain from competing against Israelis. Iran’s government usually rewards such behaviour.
Karimi says he was beating Zhabrailov when coaches told him to lose.
Iran’s sport ministry praised Karimi in a statement for supporting “human values.”