Algerian judoka, coach sent home for withdrawing to avoid Israeli

Algerian judoka, coach sent home for withdrawing to avoid Israeli
Posted at 10:19 PM, Jul 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-24 01:38:33-04

The International Judo Federation announced suspensions for Algerian judoka Fethi Nourine and his coach for withdrawing from the Olympics in order to avoid a match against an Israeli-born competitor.

Nourine's withdrawal was "in total opposition to the philosophy" of the federation, said the IJC in suspending the judoka and his coach Amar Benikhlef.

The Algerian Olympic Committee sent Nourine and Benikhlef home and announced unspecified sanctions for the pair.

On Friday, Nourinhe told Algerian reporters that his support for the Palestinian cause would not allow him to face Israeli opponent Tohar Butbul, according to Reuters' Tetsushi Kajimoto.

Nourinhe, who removed himself from the 2019 world championships in Tokyo rather than face an Israeli, would've faced No.6 seed Butbul in the second round of Pool D play had he defeated Sudan's Mohamed Abdalrasool on Monday. Now Abdalrasool will meet Butbul.

This is not the first instance of an athlete refusing to compete against an Israeli; individuals from other countries including Iran and Egypt have previously refused to compete against Israelis.