According to reports, this 22-year-old Iranian national skier traveled to Germany a few days ago to prepare for the world championships in France. She later stated that she did not intend to compete with the other Iranian national ski team members and had applied for asylum in Germany.
Atefeh Ahmadi, Iran’s second-best female skier, qualified for the 2021 Beijing Winter Olympics and was the only Iranian female skier to compete in the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics. Atefeh Ahmadi has five Asian medals and several gold medals to her name.
“We are shocked at the moment,” said Abbas Nazarian, head of the Ski Federation, in response to Atefeh Ahmadi’s asylum request. “We hope this is not the case. She was one of the best in Iran.”
Because of Iran’s misogynistic and repressive laws, several Iranian female athletes and national team members have defected and sought refuge in other countries. Women are barred from competing in international competitions in certain sports, such as swimming. Women can compete in other areas if they wear a hijab approved by the Iranian regime and have their husband’s or father’s permission.
Due to her husband’s protests, Samira Zargari, the head coach of the Alpine skiing team, was barred from leaving the country in March 2021. As a result, she was unable to accompany her team to Italy. Samira is not the first Iranian female athlete whose husband has prohibited her from leaving the country to compete in international competitions. Her husbands had previously barred Niloufar Ardalan, captain of the women’s national futsal team, and Zahra Nemati, a three-time Paralympic archery champion, from leaving the country.
Mountain climbing and hiking are also prohibited for married and single women. In November 2018, the Khorasan Razavi Mountaineering Board issued this directive to the provinces’ clubs. Only loose-fitting clothing is permitted, despite the fact that it slows athletic movement and prevents Iranian female athletes from competing at their best.
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