Photo: ATTA KENARE / AFP
The Iranian skier Atefeh Ahmadi fled her home country and applied for asylum in Germany.
The 22-year-old, who was the only woman in her country to qualify for the Winter Olympics in Beijing last year, said this in an emotional interview to the Persian-language news channel Iran International in London on Saturday.
"I left Iran to achieve my goal, but my heart is with Iran," Ahmadi said. "If I could, I would stand by the people so that we can achieve freedom together." At the Games in Beijing had become Ahmadi 57th in the giant slalom.
Iran has been shaken by the largest wave of protests in decades since the death of 22-year-old Kurdish woman Jina Mahsa Amini in September 2022.
More than 19,000 people are said to have been imprisoned and over 500 killed since then.
At least four protesters were also executed by the regime.
Ahmadi is not the first female athlete to leave Iran in recent years.
Chess player Sara Khadem fled to Spain after participating in an international tournament in December 2022 without wearing the hijab required in Iran.
Taekwondoin Kimia Alisadeh, the first Iranian woman to win an Olympic medal, left her homeland in 2020 and is now in Aschaffenburg.
Weightlifter Parisa Jahanfekr also fled Iran to Germany in October 2022.