“We worked hard to reach the Olympics, but Palestine has a bigger cause,” Algerian athlete said adding that he had always been supportive of Palestine cause.
TOKYO — Two Muslim players have refused to play against Israeli judo players and withdrew from the 2021 Tokyo Olympics in protest against Zionist occupation in Palestine, media reports say.
Algeria’s Fethi Nourine and Sudan’s Mohammed Abdalrasool withdrew from the 73 kg judo tournament avoiding to face 27-year-old Israeli athlete Tohar Butbul showing solidarity with Palestinians and Palestine cause.
Abdalrasool was scheduled to face Algerian Fethi Nourine in an earlier round, but Nourine withdrew last week due to the winner of that fight having to take on Butbul in the round of 16. Nourine cited his political support for Palestine as his reason for the withdrawal.
According to media sources, the decision was made by Nourine because of the conflict between Israel and Palestinian. Nourine said he was helping Palestinians against Israeli atrocities.
A few days after Nourine, Sudan’s Mohammed Abdalrasool, who ranked 469th in the judo world, also withdrew. However, he did not formally justify his withdrawal, but experts say it was for the same reason as Fethi Nourine.
Earlier, in a discussion with Algerian television, Nourine said, “We worked hard to reach the Olympics, but Palestine has a bigger cause.” He added that he had always been supportive of Palestine stand.
He is against the normalisation of relations forgetting Israeli atrocities on Palestinians in the Olympics even if he is dismissed from the Games, Nourine said. “I’m looking up and I hope He makes up for it,” he said, according media reports.
In the 2019 World Judo Championships, Nourine was scheduled to face Butoburu, but Algerian athletes withdrew from the match in solidarity with Palestine. After this incident, the International Judo Federation had suspended Nourine.