Algerian gets 10-year ban for withdrawing from Olympics to avoid Israeli

Algerian Fethi Nourine and his trainer were suspended for 10 years by the International Judo Federation (IJF) for withdrawing from the Tokyo Olympics after the draw put him on the path to a fight against an Israeli.

The 30-year-old was scheduled to face Sudanese Mohamed Abdalrasool for his first fight in the 73kg men and a victory would have paired him with Israeli Tohar Butbul in the next round.

Nourine said her political support for the Palestinian cause prevented her from competing with Butbul.

The Algerian Olympic Committee withdrew the accreditation of Nourine and her trainer Amar Benikhlef and sent them home after the Tokyo Games.

The IJF, which had temporarily suspended Nourine and Benikhlef, said the couple used the Games “as a platform to protest and promote political and religious propaganda”, in violation of its code of ethics and Olympic Charter.

They are banned from all IFJ events and activities until July 23, 2031, although they can appeal their bans to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, the statement said.

The incident was not the first time that Nourine has withdrawn from the competition to avoid facing an Israeli opponent. He withdrew from the 2019 World Championships in Tokyo for the same reason.

Tensions in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict have erupted again this year as clashes in disputed Jerusalem sparked cross-border clashes.

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