History-making female boxer from Iran cancels return home after arrest warrant issued

 smh.com.au  04/17/2019 16:28:28 

History-making female boxer from Iran cancels return home after arrest warrant issued

Paris: On Saturday, she was lauded as the first Iranian woman to ever compete in an official boxing bout.

But now Sadaf Khadem is in exile, cancelling plans to return home after an arrest warrant was issued for her in Tehran, her representative said on Wednesday as Iranian authorities issued a denial.

Khadem had reportedly trained in hiding and then in France, where she qualified for her first bout. She beat a French boxer, Anne Chauvin, in the bout, which took place in western France on Saturday.

Sadaf Khadem (right) with her opponent, Anne Chauvin, and fight organiser, Mahyar Monshipour (centre).

Sadaf Khadem (right) with her opponent, Anne Chauvin, and fight organiser, Mahyar Monshipour (centre).Credit:Twitter

She was expected to return to Iran to a hero's welcome. But her representative, Clara Dallay, told Reuters that authorities had issued arrest warrants against her and fight organiser Mahyar Monshipour.

Monshipour, an Iranian-born former boxing world champion who is now a French citizen, set up the bout after Iran opened the door to allowing women to box.

Hossein Soori, the head of Iran's boxing federation, denied Khadem would be arrested, attributing the information to "media linked to Saudi Arabia".

"Mrs Khadem is not a member of [Irans] organised athletes for boxing, and from the boxing federations perspective all her activities are personal," he was quoted as saying by the semi-official ISNA news agency.

Sadaf Khadem was expected to receive a hero's welcome when she returned to Iran.

Sadaf Khadem was expected to receive a hero's welcome when she returned to Iran.

Iranian women's participation in sports events is heavily restricted, though authorities are beginning to give ground in some areas after years of campaigning by pressure groups.

The federation now allows women to register to box, on condition that they be coached by a woman and wear the Islamic hijab while competing. To date, no bouts between female fighters have taken place in Iran.

Monshipour was planning to travel back to Iran with Khadem this week.

France's foreign ministry could not immediately comment on the case.

Franco-Iranian relations are in a tense phase after comments by France's ambassador to the United States last week on Irans nuclear programme sparked an angry reaction from Tehran.

« Go back