Tag: Olympics Games Rio

Kimia Alizadeh becomes first ever Iranian woman medal winner at Olympic games

TAEKWONDO star Kimia Alizadeh Zenoorin won 57kg bronze to become Iran’s first ever female Olympic medalist.

The teen beat  Nikita Glasnovic of Sweden 5-1 after winning her repechage match with Thailand’s Phannapa Harnsujin 14-10. Alizadeh  narrowly missed the chance to make it all the way  to the final after losing by a singly point margin to the Spanish player. Alizadeh has already won a gold medal in the World Youth Olympics and is detained to have a bright future in the sport of Taekwondo.

Kimia Alizadeh Zenoorin made history by landing bronze in Rio

Kimia Alizadeh Zenoorin made history by landing bronze in Rio
Iranian teen beat Sweden's Nikita Glasnovic to medal
Iranian teen beat Sweden’s Nikita Glasnovic to medal

After her historic triumph, 18-year-old Alizadeh said: “I wish I had made history with a gold medal.

“I thank God that I made history with my bronze to pave the way for other Iranian women.

“I am very excited and I want to thank my parents and my coach. They really stand behind me and I am so happy.”

Zenoorin joins champions Jade Jones on the podium

Kimia Alizadeh  joins champion Jade Jones on the podium
No Iranian woman has ever won an Olympic medal

No Iranian woman has ever won an Olympic medal

Alizadeh had lost 8-7 in the quarter-finals to Eva Calvo Gomez of Spain but was handed a repechage place once the Spaniard made the final, where she lost to Team GB’s Jade Jones.Welsh wonder Jones came through 16-7 after a thrilling match to defend her London 2012 title.

It’s a strong signifier in favor of gender equality under the flag of a nation notorious for its harsh, discriminatory treatment of women. One small example: Women are not even permitted in the stadiums where all-male athletic events are taking place, a state of affairs highlighted by a protestor at the Olympics earlier this week.  Women in Iran are forced by law to cover their hair and all their body, those who disobey are prosecuted . The International Olympic Committee gave tacit approval to a sign that read “Let Iranian Women Enter Their Stadiums” held up by a protestor at volleyball games. Despite Iranian women playing a major role in the society and the high regard they always had throughout the history, the Islamic republic always curtailed their activities and relegated them to the second division of the society.

Iran has already won 2 gold medals in Weightlifting by Rostami and Moradi, and 2 bronze in Greco-Roman wrestling. Alizadeh’s Bronze is the fifth for Iran in the Rio Olympic Games 2016.

Big blow for Omid team.

Iran Olympics football Team U 23, Omid Team received a setback when it was confirmed that 3 of its top players will not be competing in the finals of the AFC U23 championship which is also the qualifiers for the Rio 2016 Men Olympics Games Football competition.

Sardar Azmoun, Saeed Ezatollahi and Alireza Jahanbakhsh will not be part of the squad that will be competing in Doha in two weeks time.

Habib Kashani , the head of Team Omid said “These 3 players are registered as professionals in European club. We were unable to obtain the release from their respective clubs. The competition for the Olympics are not played in FIFA days and as such these clubs are not obliged to release their players for their national representative teams. All these clubs will be either busy in their own league competitions or preparing for the league as the case with the two Russian based players are.”

Sardar Azmoun, Saeed Ezatollahi  (FC Rostov) and Alireza Jahanbakhsh (AZ Alkmaar) are also in Team Melli squad in addition to playing for the U23 team. Their  quality and European experience is considered vital for the Omid team which is trying to qualify for the Olympics for the first time in 40 years. Kashani , however, played down the significance of the 3 players absence and said that their team has been mainly competing and training without the 3 players most of their campaign and their absence for the final will not produce a shock for the team.

Iran, under coach Mohammad Khakpour,  will be playing in Group A with host Qatar , Syria nd China. Omid’s first match will be on 12th January against Syria U23.

Khakpour announces Omid Team plans.

Mohammad Khakpour, Iran’s U23 (Omid) coach announced his plans for the team from now until January 2016, when Iran will join 15 other finalist in a tough battle to qualify for the Rio De Janeiro Olympics football competition. The final rounds of the qualification for Rio Olympics will be held in Doha, Qatar.

In his briefing with the sport journalist, Khakpour express his gratitude to the clubs who helped the case of Omid team with their timely release of the players for the inaugural WAFF U23 tournament. Khakpour was over joyed by the results achieved in this first tournament of its kind, where Iran’ U23 won the title defeating Syria 2-0 in the final.

“The first order of business in to set up a short camp in UAE, were we were hoping to play against Iraq and Australia. The latter match is 100% confirmed but the Iraq match is yet to be finalized” Khakpour said. “After that we will be going to Turkey foe another short camp followed by a local camp either in Kish Island or in Khuzistan (Ahvaz). We hope that by that time , we will have all our players available for the best preparation of the squad.” Khakpour continued.

The reporters then quizzed Khakpour on several topics including the readiness of  Arya Hashemi. Khakpour said that this player will not be fit on time to join the team.

About Iran’s prospect for qualifying to that eluded prize of Olympic Games, Khakpour responded “We should be under no illusion that qualifying to the next round from the group is not an easy task at all. Qatar is the host, China is one of the strongest teams in Asia at that age level, and we have all seen Syria play against us with strength and skill. So, it is not going to be an easy task, but we are not going there to surrender either.”


About his abrupt resignation after winning the WAFF U23 tournament, Mohammad Khakpour admitted his mistake as he particularly apologized for Mohammad Mayeli-Kohan and Habib Kashani for this hasty move. “Both these gentlemen put a lot of faith in me and I let them down. I like to sincerely apologize to them and also to my compatriots for such an act and admit that it was out of emotions and not rational.”  the Iranian U23 team coach said. Khakpour also apologized for the media in an unprecedented move!  As such , this is a rare occasion that an Iranian coach admits his fault and apologized for it. So, there is still hope left in Iranian coaches!

The head coach of U23 team however, did not conceal his disappointment with Ali Kaffashian and the general lack of support for Omid Team from the federation. Khakpour said that the main reason for his resignation was the one-sided contract that he was offered in which he was held accountable for everything , while it hardly mentioned anything about the federations responsibilities.

2016 AFC U-23 Championship

Qualified teams

The following 16 teams qualified for the final tournament

Team Qualified as Appearance Previous best performance
 Qatar Hosts 1st Debut
 Iraq Group A winners 2nd Champions (2013)
 Jordan Group B winners 2nd Third place (2013)
 Saudi Arabia Group C winners 2nd Runners-up (2013)
 United Arab Emirates Group D winners 2nd Quarter-finals (2013)
 Syria Group E winners 2nd Quarter-finals (2013)
 Australia Group F winners 2nd Quarter-finals (2013)
 North Korea Group G winners 2nd Group stage (2013)
 South Korea Group H winners 2nd Fourth place (2013)
 Japan Group I winners 2nd Quarter-finals (2013)
 China PR Group J winners 2nd Group stage (2013)
 Thailand 1st best runners-up (Group G) 1st Debut
 Iran 2nd best runners-up (Group C) 2nd Group stage (2013)
 Vietnam 3rd best runners-up (Group I) 1st Debut
 Yemen 4th best runners-up (Group D) 2nd Group stage (2013)
 Uzbekistan 5th best runners-up (Group E) 2nd Group stage (2013)

[divider size=”5″ margin=”20″]

12 January 2016
Syria  v  Iran
12 January 2016
Qatar  v  China PR

15 January 2016
China PR  v  Syria
15 January 2016
Iran  v  Qatar

18 January 2016
Qatar  v  Syria
18 January 2016
Iran  v  China PR


Kaffashian confirms AFC sanction against Khakpour.

Ali Kaffashian who has attended the first New AFC Executive committee meeting in Manama, Bahrain confirmed in an interview that the AFC technical Committee does not recognize Mohammad Khakpour as a qualified trainer/coach for Iran’s U-23 team.

Khakpour , with little if any coaching experience at top level football was surprisingly selected to replace Nelo Vingada the coach of Iran’s U23 team or the Olympics team. This was carried out shortly after the disastrous exit of the U-23 team in the Asian games, one of the worst defeats of an Iranian representative team in the history. Widespread condemnations from the media, fans and experts, forced Kaffashian to react to save this team which was supposed to qualify for the Olympics Games in Rio. However, the man who is world famous for his grin and cool demeanor, acted hastily in an attempt to quell what was now some strong disapproval within the federation as well.

The selection of Mohammad Khakpour ahead of many qualified, more experienced and more competent coaches, domestic or foreign shocked many. In essence, FFIRI under Kaffashian could not have done any worse than such a move. To put icing on the cake, Habib Kashani and Mohammad Mayeli-Kohan were also appointed as managers in different capacities for the U23 team.

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So, It was not very surprising nor very long before the fans experienced the result in such incompetency. Iran U23 lost against arch rivals Saudi Arabia in Tehran, in the penultimate game of the Asian Qualifiers for the Rio Olympic Games 2016. Iran was hosting the group but could not qualify directly to the next stage. Complete failure and elimination from the first step was avoided by the virtue of qualification to the final rounds as one of the best 5 groups runner ups. The final rounds of qualifications will be held in Qatar on January 2016.

The AFC came into the picture after examining the coaching certificates of Khakpour and found it below the minimum required to coach the U23 team. Khakpour has a coaching certificate in USA not recognized by FIFA or AFC. As such Mohammad Khakpour is not allowed to coach this team unless he attends a proper FIFA or AFC coaching course and passes the required tests.

Kaffashian’s attempt to dodge the issue of proper qualification of coaches mandated by FIFA and AFC resulted in a meeting with the Asian Technical Director Andy Roxburgh. The Scottish coach has been recently appointed in order to enhance Asian coaches education and player development.

Kaffashian, a Vice-President of AFC, failed to present a solid case for Khakpour’s appointment and could not respond to why his Khakpour’s credentials were not checked according to the AFC regulations. The verdict was clear and it stood as is. If Khakpour does not attend the proper certified AFC or FIFA coaching courses, he will be banned from sitting on the bench of Iran’s U23 team during official competitions.

True to his style, Kaffashian attempting to relegate the issue , said that the U23 team has no official activities or commitment until January 2016, so, they do not need to get all hyped up about it!

Of course, there is no mention by Kaffashian on accountability and responsibility of such an appointment or debacle, to be more precise.