Weightlifting under fire from angry Iranians: 1.6 million times

Sun Aug 21, 2016 7:35pm EDT
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By Brian Oliver

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Angry Iranian sports fans have deluged the International Weightlifting Federation with more than 1.6 million online comments, many of them abusive, after the country’s biggest star failed to win a medal in Rio.

The IWF website was hacked Aug. 17 and has been underattack since then. Some news items have disappeared, including a report of the men’s super-heavyweight contest at +105kg.

In that final weightlifting event of Rio 2016, riot police were put on standby about 50 meters away from the stage after furious Iranian coaches illegally entered the field of play area to question a decision by the jury.

The Iranian favorite, Behdad Salimikordasiabi, broke a world record in the first part of the competition, the snatch.

Salimi, as he is known, then failed to register a lift in the clean and jerk. His first attempt was a fail and his second, after being cleared by judges, was overruled unanimously by the jury of five who decided Salimi’s left arm was not completely straight.

After he failed with his third attempt the 170kg Salimi was reduced to tears. His coaches claimed there had been “a conspiracy” against Iran.

Iranian fans booed the gold medalist from Georgia, Lasha Talakhadze, who broke another world record, held by another Iranian, Hossein Rezazadeh, with his last lift.

“Our enemies were on the jury,” said Sajjad Anoushiravani, Iran’s head coach. “It’s obvious they took the medal from Salimi.”   Continued...

2016 Rio Olympics - Weightlifting - Final - Men's +105kg - Riocentro - Pavilion 2 - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - 16/08/2016. Behdad Salimikordasiabi (IRI) of Iran and his coach react. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj