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Kimia is pictured at the National Training Centre in Tokyo.

Council News

Rio hero Kimia fighting to be fit for Tokyo 2020

Date : 24 Nov 2018

Tokyo, Japan, November 24, 2018: The OCA’s third Athletes’ Forum has attracted a lot of famous athletes from around Asia. One of them is Kimia Alizadeh, who made history at Rio 2016 by becoming the first female athlete from Iran to win an Olympic Games medal – a bronze in taekwondo.

That medal changed her life at home for ever – but now she is facing a different type of fight in her career: a race to be fit in time for Tokyo 2020.

“I am very happy to be here in Tokyo at the Athletes’ Forum and it is my goal and all my aim to be back here for the Olympic Games in 2020,” says Kimia, who is still only 20 years old.

“Since I won the bronze medal at Rio 2016 I have been very unlucky with injuries. I have injured both my ankles during competitions and then my left knee - my ACL - in training just one week before the Asian Games.

“I am training in the gym to keep my body in shape but I cannot fight and I cannot kick. Six months later I will come back to taekwondo. I know this is a short time before the qualification starts for the Olympic Games but I hope to make it.”

Kimia’s historic bronze medal at 57kg in Rio made headlines around the world – and introduced her to a whole new world back home in Iran.

“My life was very different because when I went out on the street all the people came to me and wanted a signature and take a photo. Sometimes it made me angry because it took a lot of time to take a photo and I could not do my work. If I ate an ice cream, a little baby would see me and also want an ice cream.

“One time I was in my gym and my coach said to me ‘kick’ but I was very tired and I said I could not kick. Then the coach asked a younger athlete to kick and she said she couldn’t kick because she was tired like me. My coach said to me ‘why did you say that?’"

Born in Karaj, Kimia says she took up taekwondo at the age of seven. “I was bored in my house and my mother said go to the gym. I didn’t know anything about sport but there was only one sport at the gym – taekwondo. So I started taekwondo and now I am here!”

As well as her bronze medal at Rio 2016, Kimia also has two World Championship medals – a silver and a bronze – and gold from the 2014 Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing.

Another big date in her diary is November 30, three days after returning to Iran from Tokyo, when she will hold her second engagement party to her husband-to-be, volleyball coach Hamed Madanchi.

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