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Algerian Judo Fighter Withdraws From Olympics Over Possible Bout With Israeli Player - Reports

Algerian Judo fighter Fethi Nourine
© Photo : Twitter/ Aqeel Ahmed Shakir

During the 2016 Olympics in Rio, another judoka from Egypt, Islam El Shehaby, also withdrew from the competition over refusing to shake hands with an Israeli athlete.

Algerian athlete Fethi Nourine has abandoned the judo competition at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics over the possibility of potentially facing an Israeli athlete in the octagon, Algerian media reported.

Nourine reportedly cited his commitment to the Palestinian cause as the reason for avoiding a potential fight with an Israeli rival.

"My position is consistent on the Palestinian issue, and I reject normalisation, and if it cost me that absence from the Olympic Games, God will compensate," he told Algeria's Elbilad TV according to the news site Middle East Eye.

His coach, Amar Ben Yaklif, supported Nourine's decision, telling local media "We were unlucky with the draw. We got an Israeli opponent and that’s why we had to retire. We made the right decision."

Algeria is one of the Arab nations which continue to refuse to recognize the Jewish state and it prohibits Israeli citizens from entering the country.

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