US wokeist lefties aren’t the only ones marring the Tokyo Olympics with their misguided politics as Fethi Nourine, an Algerian judo wrestler, has been sent home from the games for refusing compete against an opponent from Israel, a step claimed to be in support of the cause of the Palestinians.
Algerian judoka Nourine was supposed to compete in the under 73kg division of the 2021 Olympics judo competition but when his draw pitted him against Tohal Butbul, an Israeli, he backed out immediately.
The Algerian said it was impossible to compete against an Israeli opponent in the first round on Monday because of his support of the Palestinians, who are fellow Muslims and fellow Arabs to Algerians.
The coach supports his move
His backing out is apparently meant to express protest and delegitimize Israel.
Nourine stated he had worked hard to qualify for the Olympics but added that “the Palestinian cause is bigger” than them.
This isn’t the first time he has backed out of matches against Israeli athletes – back in 2019, he withdrew from the world championship after having to face an Israeli.
Nourine’s coach, Amar Benikhlef, supported his move, adding that his contestant has “not [been] lucky with the draw.”
He declared that “we had to retire” because of the Israeli, and concluded that “we made the right decision.”
The International Judo Federation (IJF) reacted negatively to the Algerians’ politically motivated decision to withdraw from the match.
It issued a special statement condemning their behaviour for completely opposite “to our philosophy”.
Not the first case
The Federation emphasized that it adheres to “a strict non-discrimination policy” in which “solidarity [is] a key principle” which is reinforced by “the values of judo.”
The IJF also said that the cause of Nourine’s withdrawal will be reviewed by a disciplinary commission, which would decide whether there will be additional sanctions “beyond the Olympic Games”.
Before the IJF reaction, the Algerian Olympic Committee had already withdrawn the accreditation for both Nourine and his coach, and had said it was sending them home.
Besides Nourine’s current and previous boycotts, there have also been other cases by Arab contestants mistreating Israeli judokas.
Egypt’s Islam El Shehaby even quit the sport as he refused to shake the hand of Or Sasson, his victorious opponent from Israel, in the first round of the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
In April 2021, the IJF slapped a four-year ban on Iran for severely pressuring its fighters to abstain from matches against Israeli athletes.