Sheet shaking costs weightlifter his career


An Iranian weightlifter was banned for life from this sport after he and an Israeli weightlifter clashed at an event in Poland last weekend.

Mostafa Rajaei and the Israeli weightlifter Maksim Svirsky shook hands on Saturday after they both reached the podium at a World Masters Championship in Wieliczka.

Iran does not recognize its sworn enemy Israel as a state and prohibits all contact between Iranian and Israeli athletes.

“The weightlifting federation bans the athlete Mostafa Rajaei for life from using any sports facilities in the country and dismisses the head of the delegation to the competition, Hamid Salehinia,” the body announced in the meantime.

Rajaei is a former member of the Iranian national team and represented his country at the Asian Weightlifting Championship in 2015 in Thailand.

The incident in Poland follows after Iran’s supreme leader, the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, urged athletes in 2021 to “not shake hands with representatives of the (Israeli) criminal regime to obtain a medal”.

For years, Iranian athletes have managed to avoid Israeli athletes in competitions, often by being disqualified or providing medical certificates preventing them from participating.

However, the chess prodigy Alireza Firouzja left Iran after the sports federation banned him from participating in the 2019 world championship for fear that he would face an Israeli player.

He is now a French citizen.