An Olympic judoka has been suspended for refusing to compete against an Israeli competitor
Photo by FRANCK via Getty Images
o Algerian athlete Fethi Nourine has been sent home from the Olympics.
o Nourine withdrew from the judo tournament when he was scheduled to fight an Israeli competitor.
The judoka, who is pro-Palestine, said he would
"not get his hands dirty.'
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The International Judo Federation has suspended a judoka who refused to compete against an Israeli ath- lete at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.
Fethi Nourine flew to Japan with the Algerian team but withdrew from the Games when he saw he'd been scheduled to fight Tohar Butbul, of Israel, in the second round.
Nourine' also withdrew from the 2019 world champi- onships in Tokyo to avoid facing an Israeli competitor.
"We worked a lot to reach the Olympics,' Nourine said, according to Sky News. "But the Palestinian cause is bigger than all of this."
Citing Algerian TV, Sky News added that Nourine said he would not "get his hands dirty.'
Nourine's judo coach Amar Benikhlef supported his athlete's withdrawal. "We were not lucky with the draw;' Benikhlef said. "We got an Israeli opponent and that's why we had to retire. We made the right decision."
The International Judo Federation [IJF] said it sus- pended Nourine because the stance opposed its philosophy.
"The IJF has a strict non-discrimination policy, pro- moting solidarity as a key principle, reinforced by the values of judo,' read a statement on its website.
The IJF added that both Nourine and Benikhlef will now face "disciplinary sanctions."