Iranian-Belgian athlete, Raheleh Asemani, a taekwondo practitioner represented Belgium at the Rio 2016 Olympics. Her performances were outstanding, and she came very close to earning an Olympic medal this year at the Women’s fifty-seven-kilogram taekwondo event.
Asemani lost her chance of winning a bronze medal after being beaten by Hedaya Wahba of Egypt. One of her fellow athletes, Kimia Alizadeh Zenoorin, won a bronze medal in the same weight category. She made history and became the first Iranian female to win an Olympic medal.
Asemani is a former refugee athlete, born in Iran, but now lives in Belgium where she competes and works as a postwoman during the week. Earlier this year, she was not permitted to compete in the European Olympic qualifier as an “independent athlete” according to the World Taekwondo Federation (WTF) as she had not yet gained Belgian citizenship. She advanced to the final of the featherweight division and defeated Finland’s Suvi Mikkonen, winning the tournament and earning a spot in the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Asemani was one of the athletes who was being considered for the newly-created Refugee Olympic Team, but officially became a Belgian citizen in April and competed for Belgium in Rio.
Take a look at her results from the Rio Olympics:
Women’s 57kg Contest for Bronze Medal A
Raheleh Asemani (Belgium) – Hedaya Wahba (Egypt) Egypt: 0-1
Women’s 57kg Repechage
Raheleh Asemani (Belgium) – Naima Bakkal (Morocco): 12-0
Women’s 57kg Quarterfinal
Raheleh Asemani (Belgium) – Jade Jones (Great Britain): 2-7
Women’s 57kg Round of 16
Raheleh Asemani (Belgium) – Carolena Carstens (Panama): 13-1