Earlier this month, 21-year-old Iranian taekwondo fighter Kimia Alizadeh, announced on her Instagram account that she was defecting from Iran, calling out the government's "hypocrisy."
She became a hero in Iran in 2016 after winning a bronze medal in the 57-kilogram weight class at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
Alizadeh announced her "permanent" defection via social media earlier this month, blaming the Iranian regime's "injustice" and "hypocrisy" for the way it exploits athletes as "tools" for political purposes.
Her announcement came just a day after Iranian officials finally admitted downing the Ukrainian passenger plane, killing 176 people minutes after takeoff.
At the time, Alizadeh didn’t disclose where she was going, but according to AFP, the Iranian ISNA news agency reported she had gone to the Netherlands. The Iranian report also quoted Alizadeh's coach saying she was injured and didn’t show up for trials for the upcoming 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.
However, this past weekend, Alizadeh told German media she "would be happy to compete for Germany" at this year's Summer Olympics.
Radio Free Europe reports Alizadeh told Germany's Bild am Sonntag "I would be happy to compete for Germany there. I am hoping for a quiet life without any problems here."
The paper said Alizadeh was in the northern German city of Hamburg, and that she had offers from Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, and the Netherlands.
Alizadeh’s defection stunned and humiliated her home country, where she was the first and only woman to medal in the Olympics.
Iranian MP Abdolkarim Hosseinzadeh, was among those not pleased by her action, demanding answers, accusing “incompetent officials” of allowing Iran’s “human capital to flee” the country.
Hosseinzadeh compared Alizadeh to Iranian chess prodigy Alireza Firouzja who won the grandmaster title at age 14, two years after winning the Iranian chess championship, but also defected and now lives in France with his father. At the end of 2019, Firouzja announced he would no longer play under the Iranian flag, after Iran withdrew its players from the 2019 World Rapid and Blitz Championship to uphold their ban against Iranians playing against Israelis.
Along with judo, taekwando is (was?) one of Iran’s sporting strengths, but the Islamic Republic isn’t doing much to burnish its image.
Last year, the International Judo Federation suspended Iran from international competition after it refused to allow its fighters to compete against fighters from Israel.
Alizadeh’s defection and outspoken criticism won’t help Iran’s image either.
In her message posted on Instagram, Alizadeh said she no longer wanted to "sit at the table of hypocrisy, lies, injustice, and flattery."
"I am one of the millions of oppressed women in Iran with whom they have been playing for years," she wrote. "I wore whatever they told me to wear. I repeated everything they told me to say," she wrote, adding, "None of us matter to them."
You GO girl.