Kimia Alizadeh has said she wants to compete for Germany ©Getty Images

Iran's only female Olympic medallist Kimia Alizadeh has said she plans to compete for Germany after fleeing her home country.

The taekwondo star made history at Rio 2016 when, aged just 18, she captured bronze in the women's under-57 kilograms division.

Her success generated many headlines but Alizadeh claimed Iranian authorities had since used her achievement for political gain.

She said they linked the Olympic medal to Iran's law which makes wearing the hijab compulsory for women.

Iran has faced severe criticism from the west for alleged human rights abuses with Amnesty International claiming that the situation has "severely deteriorated".

Women are said to face "entrenched discrimination".

Alizadeh made a shock announcement on Instagram earlier this month, which revealed she was in Europe.

She described herself as "one of the millions of oppressed women in Iran" and criticised her country's "hypocrisy, lies and injustice".

When announcing her plan to switch to Germany, she did not rule out appearing at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

However, with the European Qualification Tournament taking place in April there is little time to make the move official.

"The Olympics is a great challenge for every athlete," Alizadeh said at a press conference.

Kimia Alizadeh received a hero's welcome at the airport in Tehran after returning from Rio 2016 with a bronze medal ©Getty Images
Kimia Alizadeh received a hero's welcome at the airport in Tehran after returning from Rio 2016 with a bronze medal ©Getty Images

"But it is still not clear whether I'll be able to start in this one. 

"If it isn't possible, then I'll start in 2024.

"I am sure that I will be judged by many but I am just 21-years-old and can attend world tournaments and future Olympics. 

"However, I will spare no effort to get the best result at this time as well."

Alizadeh added that she did not expect to ever return to Iran.

"I have a great feeling to have made a decision for my life that would definitely change my future," she said.

"I think it is not even clear enough now and, in the years to come, I will understand what a good decision I made."

Germany has won one silver and one bronze medal in taekwondo in their Olympic history.

Musa Cicek, the vice president of the German Taekwondo Union, told Reuters that Alizadeh would not be guaranteed a place at Tokyo 2020, even if everything was sorted in time.

"If there is a naturalisation within the next 14 days, then it would be an option," he said. 

"But we also have other athletes who have been battling to go to the Olympics for the last four years, and there won't be a free ticket."