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Tokyo Olympics: Algerian judoka forfeits to avoid facing Israeli


The international judo body has already pronounced heavy sanctions against federations which encourage their athletes to boycott.

What would Baron Pierre de Coubertin, founder of the Olympic Games, whose philosophy was to separate sport from politics have thought?

A manifestly untenable will, given the numerous positions taken in more than 130 years of Olympism.

Read also Tokyo Olympics: the complete calendar of events to print

These Tokyo Games will be no exception.

Algerian judoka Fethi Nourine (-73 kg) announced on Algerian television Thursday evening his decision to forfeit the Tokyo Olympics so as not to have to face an Israeli opponent.

The athlete was first to face Sudanese Mohamed Abdalrasool on Monday in the first round, before battling Israel's Tohar Butbul in the next round in the event of a qualification.

"The Palestinian cause greater than anything"

"We are not going to raise the Israeli flag and we are not getting our hands dirty, facing an Israeli!"

»Launched the Algerian judoka, according to i24 news.

Fethi Nourine received the support of his trainer: “We refuse normalization.

We made the right decision ”, explained the latter.

Algeria still refuses the normalization of its relations with Israel - unlike its Moroccan neighbor - because of its very firm position in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“We worked hard to qualify for the Games, but the Palestinian cause is bigger than all that,” continued the Algerian judoka.

This is not the first time that he has withdrawn from competition for these reasons.

He had also acted in this way during the 2019 Worlds in Tokyo.

Frequent incidents in judo

It is not the first time either that the Israeli-Arab tensions invite themselves in judo. At the 2016 Rio Olympics, Egyptian judoka Islam El-Shehaby refused to shake hands with his Israeli opponent, victorious at the end of the fight. The diplomatic incident had been avoided since the Egyptian state, at peace with Israel since 1979, had urged its athlete to respect the rules.

Last February, Iranian judoka Saeid Mollaei, 2018 World Champion in the - 81 kg category, wrote history for him by participating in a competition on Israeli soil, thus refusing the boycott imposed by the Iranian federation. He was greeted as a hero in Israel, and won the silver at the Grand Slam in Tel Aviv by competing for Mongolia, the nation he will represent at the Tokyo Olympics. Two months later, the International Judo Federation issued a four-year ban on the Iranian Judo Federation for "serious and repeated violations" of its rules.

Source: leparis

All sports articles on 2021-07-23

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