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Other Sports - 14. January 2020.

Iran's Only Female Olympic Medalist Says She Has Defected

An Iranian Olympian, Kimia Alizadeh, has reportedly defected from the Islamic Republic, according to a letter she published on her Instagram account on Saturday.

The letter was published in Persian and is accompanied by a black and white image of her from the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

She describes her decision to leave as difficult, but referring to herself as "one of the millions of oppressed women in Iran," Alizadeh says it was necessary.

"This decision is even harder to win than the Olympic gold, but I remain the daughter of Iran wherever I am," Alizadeh writes.

Alizadeh was 18-years-old when she won a bronze medal for taekwondo at the 2016 summer Olympics. She is the only woman to ever win an Olympic medal for Iran.

In her letter, she accuses officials in Iran of sexism and mistreatment and criticizes the compulsory wearing of hijab headscarves in public for women.

"They took me wherever they wanted. I wore whatever they said," the letter reads. "Every sentence they ordered me to say, I repeated."

Her letter did not disclose when she left Iran or where she has gone. But it did make clear that she was not invited to Europe and that her defection was not the result of any offer of asylum.

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