Olympic committee takes Iranian at word


The International Olympic Committee accepted the explanation of an Iranian swimmer who withdrew from a race that included an Israeli.

A spokeswoman for the IOC said Monday that the swimmer, Mohammad Alirezaei, had confirmed in writing that he withdrew from the men’s 100-meter breaststroke because of illness, the Associated Press reported. The spokeswoman, Giselle Davies, said the committee would take Alirezaei at his word.

Iran could have faced sanctions had Alirezaei pulled out of the race because an Israeli was scheduled to compete.

“The athlete has withdrawn because of sickness,” Davies said. “He confirmed this in writing to the swimming federation. We’ve also spoken with the national Olympic committee and they have underlined to us that all their athletes compete here in the right spirit against athletes from any nationality.”

On Sunday, an Israeli basketball coach, David Blatt, made news when he shook hands with the captain of the Iranian basketball team.

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