‘Principles First’: Iraqi Athletes Reject Normalization with Israel, Withdraw from Top Fencing Championship

Iraq's top fencing athletes. (Photo: Courtesy of the Iraqi Fencing Federation)

By Palestine Chronicle Staff  

The FIE Fencing World Championships 2023 is currently taking place in Milan, Italy.

In solidarity with the Palestinian people and as an expression of rejecting any normalization with the Israeli occupation, the Iraqi Fencing Federation announced on Monday the withdrawal of some of its players from the world championship in Italy.

The decision was a result of the draw, which placed them in a group that included Israeli players, Aljazeera Arabic reported.

The Federation said in an official statement published on its Facebook account: “In a new heroic position of the Fencing Federation, our players withdrew from the world championship, refusing to meet (athletes representing) the Zionist entity.”

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The statement added:

“Based on the well-established national principles .. and in implementation of the decisions of the government and parliament that criminalize normalization with the Zionist entity (…), the Iraqi Fencing Federation has instructed our players to withdraw from the World Championship in Italy, which is currently taking place in Milan, after the draw placed them in a group of players from Israel.”

The Iraqi Federation explained that the withdrawal came from several individual competitions, but not all competitions.

“The tournament is one of the largest world tournaments, and it has great importance in scoring for the Olympic Games .. but the established national principles are more precious than all tournaments, so the decision to withdraw came with pride and pride,” the statement continued.

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The Federation confirmed that Iraqi players in the other competitions of the championship will compete in their various groups.

Acts of solidarity with Palestinians by Arab athletes have grown in number since several Arab countries normalized ties with Israel.

(The Palestine Chronicle) 

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