Teenager becomes Iran's first female Olympic medallist

Teenager becomes Iran's first female Olympic medallist

Eighteen-year-old Kimia Alizadeh Zenoorin took bronze in the 57-kilogramme class of taekwondo in Rio on Thursday becoming the first Iranian woman to win an Olympic medal.

The 18-year-old Iranian athlete beat Nikita Glasnovic of Sweden 5-1 to collect the historic medal after winning a repechage match with Thailand’s Phannapa Harnsujin 14-10.

“I am so happy for Iranian girls because it is the first medal, and I hope at the next Olympics we will get a gold,” said Alizadeh, who wears a head covering under her headguard.

Alizadeh thanked her parents and coach. "They really stand behind me and I am so happy," she added.

Fade Jones from the UK won the gold medal after she triumphed over Spain's Eva Calvo Gomez 16-7 in the same weight category.

Alizedeh won the 2014 Youth Olympics, and last year took the bronze medal at the world championships, beating Jones in her matches.

Iran has so far won five medals at the Rio games.

Few Iranian women have competed in the Olympics since the 1979 Islamic Revolution and have been hampered by stringent religious norms requiring specific clothing.

Women are not permitted to attend all-male athletic events or enter stadiums where they are taking place, a rule that has drawn international criticism on gender equality grounds.

On Monday, an Iranian women's rights activist received messages of support from around the world after she was allowed to unfurl and hold up a banner reading “Let Iranian Women Enter Their Stadiums" at a volleyball match in Rio despite an International Olympic Committee ban on political signs.