Fethi Nourine preferred to forfeit rather than face an Israeli opponent in his part of the table.
The Olympics have not yet officially started but the first extra-sporting controversy has erupted, disrupting preparations for the judo tournament which will start on Saturday. Algerian judoka Fethi Nourine preferred to forfeit so as not to have to face an Israeli opponent in his part of the table. The athlete broke the news on Algerian television on Thursday evening.
“We worked hard to qualify for the Games, but the Palestinian cause is bigger than all of this
Nourine was due to face Sudanese Mohamed Abdalrasool first on Monday in the first round, before fighting Israeli Tohar Butbul in the next round. “We worked hard to qualify for the Games, but the Palestinian cause is bigger than all thisHe said on television.
Nourine withdraws from the 2019 Worlds for the same reasons
This is not the first time that Nourine has withdrawn from a competition for these reasons, without knowing whether this choice was dictated to her by her leaders or if it was carefully considered. He had also acted in this way during the 2019 Worlds in Tokyo. Several Iranian judokas did the same, their attitude triggering strong protests but no sanction from international bodies which allow these incidents to be repeated regularly.