Interview by Farrokh Hesabi

Ex- taekwondo player Aflaki criticizes Iran’s performance at Tokyo

July 31, 2021 - 13:37

TEHRAN – Former Iran taekwondo player Majid Aflaki criticized the technical staff of Iran’s taekwondo national team following poor results in the 2020 Olympic Games.

Iran finished the Games without winning a medal in Tokyo. It was the first time that the country’s taekwondo failed to win any medal since 1988.

Former national team practitioner, Aflaki, in an interview with Tehran Times, said: “We failed because we did not have enough strength to fight against our opponents. Iran national team were not well prepared for a big tournament like the Olympics. In fact, we went the wrong way a long time ago, when we selected the current technical staff and technical manager of the national team.”

Iran’s three-member taekwondo team, including Mirhashem Hosseini, Armin Hadipour at Men’s category, and Nahid Kiani at Women’s, displayed poor and lower-than-expected performance in Tokyo.

When asked about the role of the Iranian federation’s management in the failure at the Olympic Games, Aflaki responded: “When you select a coach for the national team, you give him all the responsibility, and you trust him and his staff. The federation fully supported the current technical staff, and in this regard, they did their best. However, the main problem was the mistake that the federation made in choosing the head coach of Iran’s national team.”

“We made a series of tactical mistakes in these competitions. Our training methods are flawed and are not up to date,” Aflaki added.

“Mirhashem Hosseini was far from his own standards in the 2020 Olympics. He, like our two other taekwondo practitioners, was not mentally prepared for the tournament. In terms of technical level, the Olympics’ taekwondo are somehow lower than the World Taekwondo Championship, but the mental pressure and stress in the Olympics is very high, and all the athletes must put into proper condition to be able to cope with the pressures,” Aflaki, who represented Iran in 2000 Olympic Games, stated.

“Armin Hadipour had the same problem in terms of mental preparation. Moreover, he had not analyzed his rival; it was the technical coach’s responsibility. So, he made similar mistakes and lost the game,” Aflaki said.

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