- Fethi Nourine has pulled out of the men’s 73kg judo event at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games current ongoing
- The Algerian judoka does not want to compete with potential Israeli opponent Tohar Butbul in the second round
- It is not the first time Nourine will be withdrawing from an event to avoid facing an Israeli as he Algerian did the same in 2019
Nourine’s reason for his actions
Nourine was slated to face Butbul in the second round of the 73kg men’s category if he went past Sudan’s Mohamed Abdalrasool.
The 30-year-old told the press that he withdrew because his support for Palestine is bigger than his Olympic dreams.
“We worked a lot to reach the Olympics. But the Palestinian cause is bigger than all of this.”
After Nourine’s withdrawal, The International Judo Federation suspended the judoka and his coach Amar Benikhlef.
“The IJF has a strict non-discrimination policy, promoting solidarity as a key principle, reinforced by the values of judo.”
Nourine had also pulled out of a judo event in 2019 at the World Championships held in Tokyo for refusing to face an Israeli opponent.
Athletes from Iran and Egypt, have also in the past refused to compete against Israelis in competitions.
Meanwhile, Legit.ng had earlier reported that Guinea will not be participating in the forthcoming Tokyo 2020 Olympics due to coronavirus concerns, Minister of Sports, Sanoussy Bantama Sow announced, Punch.
The West African nation only had five contingents into the Games including Fatoumata Yarie Camara (wrestling), Mamadou Samba Bah (judo), Fatoumata Lamarana Toure and Mamadou Tahirou Bah (swimming) and Aissata Deen Conte (athletics, women’s 100m).
The Sports Minister in a letter to the President claimed that the health of the athletes amid COVID-19 concerns.
Legit.ng also reported that a massive search has been launch to find a Ugandan weightlifter who went missing in Tokyo, one week to the start of the Olympics.
Julius Ssekitoleko went missing from his team’s camp in Izumisano, a city in Osaka, western Japan on Friday, July 16.
Media reports from CNN claim Ssekitoleko left a note saying he wanted to stay and work in Japan, as life in his native Uganda was difficult.