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Iran’s Superfighter ends his career

(Story from The Tehran Times on Nov. 5, 2008)

Two-time Olympic gold medalist Hadi Saei of Iran is to bid farewell on Nov. 8, 2008 to his international career.

Iran’s best ever Olympic athlete will take part in a symbolic fight in the West Asian Taekwondo Championship on Nov. 8, 2008 to be held in Tehran. Saei won his first gold at the 2004 Athens Olympic Games. He was Iran’s sole Olympian who snatched the gold medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. Saei had previously won the Bronze medal at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games.

Saei’s titles:

* 1995 World Military Taekwondo Championships SILVER

* 1996 World Military Taekwondo Championships BRONZE

* 1998 World Taekwondo Cup GOLD

* 1999 World Taekwondo Championships GOLD

* 2000 World Taekwondo Cup GOLD

* 2000 Sydney Olympic Games BRONZE

* 2001 World Taekwondo Cup GOLD

* 2002 Asian Taekwondo Championships SILVER

* 2002 World Taekwondo Cup GOLD

* 2002 Busan Asian Games GOLD

* 2003 World Taekwondo Championships SILVER

* 2004 Asian Olympic Qualification Tournament GOLD

* 2004 Athens Olympic Games GOLD

* 2005 World Taekwondo Championship GOLD

* 2006 Asian Taekwondo Championships GOLD

* 2006 Doha Asian Games BRONZE

* 2007 World Taekwondo Championship BRONZE

* 2008 Asian Olympic Qualification Tournament GOLD

* 2008 Beijing Olympic Games GOLD

Hadi Saei not only is a most successful competitor, he also is a flawless sportsman and an extraordinary human being. When Iran was struck by a devastating earthquake, he auctioned his gold medals in favor of the victims of that disaster. Hopefully he will be with Taekwondo after his active career as an example of true sportsmanship and the spirit of Taekwondo.

Hats off for Hadi Saei and may he be as successful in his ‘civilian life’ as he has been as a Taekwondo competitor.