FILE - A boy walks through the Olympics rings while posing for photos as New National Stadium is seen in the background Monday, June 17, 2019, in Tokyo. The stadium will host the opening and closing ceremonies at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. Photo: Jae C. Hong/AP Photo
FILE - A boy walks through the Olympics rings while posing for photos as New National Stadium is seen in the background Monday, June 17, 2019, in Tokyo. The stadium will host the opening and closing ceremonies at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. Photo: Jae C. Hong/AP Photo

Algerian judoka quits Olympics to avoid Israeli opponent

By AFP Time of article published Jul 23, 2021

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TOKYO – Algerian judoka Fethi Nourine has withdrawn from the Tokyo Olympics before competing after the draw set him on course for a possible match-up against an Israeli opponent.

Nourine was set to face Sudanese judoka Mohamed Abdalrasool on Monday for his first bout, and would have taken on Israeli Tohar Butbul in the next round.

Speaking to an Algerian television station late Thursday, Nourine said his political support for the Palestinian cause made it impossible for him to compete against an Israeli.

"We worked a lot to reach the Olympics... but the Palestinian cause is bigger than all of this," he said, adding that his decision was "final".

It is not the first time that Nourine has withdrawn from competition to avoid facing an Israeli opponent, after he pulled out of the 2019 world championships in Tokyo.

Iranian judokas have also come under fire for refusing to compete against their Israeli counterparts.

AFP

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