Algerian judoka Fethi Nourine has reportedly withdrawn from the Tokyo Olympics before competing after the draw set him on course for a possible match-up against an Israeli opponent.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.
Algeria’s champion, 3 times Africa Champion and world ranked as 31st in Judo, NOURINE FETHI; withdrew from Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan, because he was expected to fight a Colonist from Apartheid Israel. He said “this is our duty to the cause of Palestine, which is above all.” pic.twitter.com/3w9QU67H0S
— Laith لَيث (@LaithMarouf) July 22, 2021
“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It is not the first time that Nourine has withdrawn from competition to avoid facing an Israeli opponent, after he pulled out of the 2019 world championships in Tokyo.
🇩🇿🥇 Best of luck to the 44 athletes representing Algeria at #Tokyo2020. Algeria will participate at 14 different sports at the #Olympics, including the 1500m legend Taoufik Makhloufi. pic.twitter.com/QGeVzUk7ni
— Algerian Football (@AlgerianFooty) July 23, 2021
This is not the first time that an Arab or a Muslim athlete pulls out of an international competition to avoid meeting an Israeli opponent, for such participations are seen as acts of political normalization with Israel, an occupying power that is growingly recognized as an apartheid state.
(Agencies, PC, Social Media)