Second Olympic judo star quits competition instead of facing Israeli fighter

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Mohamed Abdalrasool has become the second Olympic Judo athlete to pull out of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics rather than face an Israeli athlete ahead of their bout on Monday.

Fethi Nourine, of Algeria, pulled out of the Men's 73kg class last week over concerns he may have to face Tohar Butbul – who is from Kadima-Zoran in Israel.

Nourine was protesting Israel's behaviour towards Palestine, with tensions between the two having escalated in recent months.

And, on Monday afternoon, Abdalrasool – who is representing Sudan at the games – was a no-show for his bout with the 27-year-old Butbul.

Abdalrasool, who is ranked 469th in the world, is yet to give a reason for his withdrawal, and the Sudanese athlete had appeared for the weigh-in earlier during the day.

"We have worked hard to qualify for the Games, but the Palestinian cause is bigger than all that," Nourine told Algerian TV about his withdrawal.

"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."

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This is the second time Nourine has walked away from the competition rather than facing Butbul, and he did the same at the 2019 World Championships.

The International Judo Federation have since suspended Nourine, and the Algerian Olympic Committee have withdrawn his accreditation and sent him home.

Butbul lost his first bout, in the Round of 16, to Canada's Arthur Margelidon.

  • Olympics
  • Tokyo 2020 Olympics

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