Algerian judoka Fethi Nourine had been talked about even before the start of the Tokyo Olympics by forfeiting the -73 kg category so as not to have to meet the Israeli Tohar Butbul.
He was suspended by the International Judo Federation (IJF) and his accreditation was withdrawn.
He returned to Algeria on Thursday.
"I was shocked when I saw that the draw opposed me to the judoka of the" Zionist entity "(Editor's note: Israel), which I did not expect, but I did not hesitate to take the decision to withdraw, ”Nourine explained on her arrival to the Algerian media.
I made the decision with my coach (Amar Benikhlef) and I am proud of it, ”said the Algerian, greeted at the airport by a small crowd of supporters.
JO-2020: Algerian judoka Fethi Nourine "proud" to have boycotted an Israeli opponenthttps: //t.co/fes36SPaud
- i24NEWS French (@ i24NEWS_FR) July 29, 2021
"This decision first honors me and honors my family, the Algerian people and the Algerian state, because President Abdelmadjid Tebboune has declared that we do not bless normalization (with Israel) and that we support the Palestinian cause", he explained.
"I am happy to have angered the 'Zionist entity' and to have received messages (of support) from the Arab and Islamic world," Nourine added.
This is not his first time
For the International Judo Federation, the decision of the Algerian judoka is "in total opposition to the philosophy" of the body.
The IJF has "a strict policy of non-discrimination and promotes solidarity as a fundamental principle".
This is not the first time that Nourine has withdrawn from a competition for these reasons.
He had also acted in this way during the 2019 Worlds in Tokyo.
Since its independence in 1962, Algeria has taken up the cause for "the right of peoples to self-determination", in particular that of the Palestinians, of which it is one of the historical supporters. Nourine's decision, much commented on on social networks, sparked heated debates in Algeria. “This choice of the Algerian judoka is courageous. We may not agree with him but, at his level, he has made a concrete gesture of solidarity. Which will cost him dearly, ”Algerian journalist Akram Belkaïd commented on Facebook.