Algerian judoka Fethi Nourine has decided to withdraw from the Olympic tournament (-73 kg) to avoid facing an Israeli in the second round.
Algerian judoka Fethi Nourine (-73 kg) has decided to forfeit the Tokyo Olympics so as not to have to face an Israeli opponent in his part of the table, he announced on Algerian television Thursday evening.
Fethi Nourine was first scheduled to face Sudanese Mohamed Abdalrasool on Monday in the first round, before fighting Israel’s Tohar Butbul in the next round. “We have worked hard to qualify for the Games, but the Palestinian cause is bigger than all that,” he said on television.
“We had no luck with the draw. Judoka Fethi Nourine fell to an Israeli judoka and that is the reason for his withdrawal from the competition,” said Algeria’s national coach. , Amar Ben Yekhlef, on Ennahar TV, recalling according to statements reported by TSA the refusal of the normalization of relations with Israel: “We refuse normalization. We made the right decision”.
Not a first
This is not the first time that Fethi Nourine has withdrawn from competition for these reasons. He had also acted in this way during the 2019 Worlds in Tokyo. Several Iranian judokas did the same, their attitude triggering strong protests.
At the 2016 Olympics in Rio (Brazil), Egyptian judoka Islam El Shahaby refused after his defeat to shake hands with Israeli Or Sasson, in the first round of -100 kg. Last April, the International Judo Federation suspended the Iranian Federation for four years, after a first suspension lifted by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). No Iranian judoka is therefore in contention in Tokyo.
A sanction following the 2019 Judo Worlds, during which the Iranian authorities had imposed on their representative, Saeid Mollaei, to lose so as not to face an Israeli. He is now fighting for Mongolia, which offered him citizenship in December 2019.