Tokyo, MINA – An Algerian judo athlete, Fethi Nourine on Thursday announced his retirement from the Tokyo Olympics because he would meet Israeli athlete Tohar Butbul in the second round.
According to Algerian media reports, Nourine made the decision after he refused to meet with Tohar Butbul in the second round of the men’s judo competition under 73kg, on Thursday morning, if he wanted to progress past his first fight.
“We will not recognize the Israeli flag and we will not stain our hands with it,” said Fethi Nourine.
Meanwhile, Nourine coach Amar Ben Yakif supported the decision, saying Algeria was unlucky with a draw.
“We were unlucky with the (second half) draw. We had an opponent from Israel and that’s why we had to withdraw. We made the right decision,” he said.
The decision follows the draw that pitted Algeria against Sudan’s Mohamed Abdalrasool in the first round; The winner is then scheduled to face Bulbul, assuming he wins the first round match.
With Nourine out, Butbul will face Sudanese judo athlete Mohamed Abdalarasool in his first bout at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics which officially opened on Friday.
This is the second time Nourine has pulled out of a top-tier Judo tournament to avoid a possible clash with Butbul. He made the same decision at the 2019 World Judo Championship which was also held in Tokyo, Japan.(T/RE1)
Mi’raj News Agency (MINA)