In the 2004 Summer Olympics, competing in the half lightweight 66 kg weight class, Vaks was scheduled to fight Iranian competitor Arash Miresmaeili in the first round. Miresmaeili was disqualified from the competition because he was above the allowable weight limit for his class.
It is widely believed that Miresmaili deliberately set out to be disqualified for political reasons, which is supported by his own comments: “Although I have trained for months and was in good shape I refused to fight my Israeli opponent to sympathise with the suffering of the people of Palestine and I do not feel upset at all."
Comments from Iranian officials also supported this view. The Iranian state news agency quoted Iranian President Mohammad Khatami as saying that Miresmaeili's actions would be "recorded in the history of Iranian glories," and that the nation considered him to be "the champion of the 2004 Olympic Games."
Iranian Olympic team chairman Nassrollah Sajadi told the Sharq newspaper that the government should give the athlete a $115,000 bonus for his actions, the same amount it gave to gold medalists.
- Kaufman, Michelle (August 16, 2004). "Politics, Not Sport, Come First for Iranian Athlete". The Washington Post. Retrieved May 20, 2009.
- Black Belt. December 2004. Retrieved January 7, 2011.
- "Iran refuses judo bout against Israel". Sydney Morning Herald. August 17, 2004. Retrieved January 7, 2011.
- David Matas (2005). Aftershock: anti-zionism and anti-semitism. Dundurn Press Ltd. ISBN 1-55002-553-8. Retrieved January 7, 2011.
- Whitlock, Craig (August 17, 2004). "Judoka Praised by Iranian Government". The Washington Post. Retrieved May 20, 2009.
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