Iran's only female Olympic medallist defects

Iran's only female Olympic medallist says she has defected, writing on social media that she had left her homeland after growing tired of being used by authorities as a propaganda tool.

Taekwondo champion Kimia Alizadeh, who won a bronze medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics, implied in an Instagram post that she had moved to Europe writing that no one had invited her there and she had not been given a "tempting offer".

"But I accept the pain and hardship of homesickness" she said, "because I didn't want to be part of hypocrisy, lies, injustice and flattery."

She wrote on an account she has used for some time, but it was not immediately possible to verify her location.

Alizadeh said the Islamic Republic's authorities had attributed her success to their management and the fact that she wore the Islamic veil, which is obligatory in Iran.

Iran's semi-official ISNA new agency reported the country's deputy sports minister as saying he had not read the post, but that as far as he knows Alizadeh had always wanted to continue her studies in physiotherapy.

Alizadeh is the third top Iranian sports person to stop representing the country in recent months.