Iran's Nahid Kiyani, front, attacks Kimia Alizadeh, of the Refugee Olympic Team, during the women's 57kg match at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Sunday, July 25, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan.
Kimia Alizadeh, in blue, defeated her Iranian opponent Nahid Kiyani during the women's 57kg match.
Themba Hadebe/AP
  • Kimia Alizadeh defeated an Iranian opponent in taekwondo at the Tokyo Olympics.
  • The former Iranian bronze medalist competed as part of the refugee team.
  • Last year Alizadeh permanently left Iran after criticizing the oppression of women.
  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

A former Iranian bronze medalist who defected from the country has beaten an Iranian opponent in taekwondo at the Tokyo Olympics.

Kimia Alizadeh, 23, who competed as part of the Refugee Olympic Team, beat Nahid Kiyani in her opening bout in Tokyo.

In 2016 Alizadeh became the first Iranian woman to win an Olympic medal after winning bronze at Rio.

Last year she announced that she was permanently leaving Iran because of the oppression women faced in the country.

"I am one of the millions of oppressed women in Iran who they have been playing with for years," she wrote on Instagram. "They took me wherever they wanted. I wore whatever they said. Every sentence they ordered me to say, I repeated. Whenever they saw fit, they exploited me."

A post shared by 𝓚𝓲𝓶𝓲𝓪 𝓐𝓵𝓲𝔃𝓪𝓭𝓮𝓱🌟 (@kimiya.alizade)

Alizadeh now lives in Germany.

The first Refugee Olympic Team competed in 2016. This year's team comprises 29 men and women with 11 nationalities, including Iranian, Syrian and South Sudanese.

In her second bout Alizadeh defeated Jade Jones, the two-time defending Olympic champion from Britain, in a massive upset.

She will now advance to the quarterfinals in the 57-kilogram taekwondo division.

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