Tokyo Olympics: Two Muslim athletes withdraw in protest against Israel

Algeria's Fethi Nourine and Mohamed Abdel Rasoul from Sudan both withdrew, in the same week, from the 73 kg Judo competition as they were to take on 27-year-old Israeli athlete Tohar Butbul. 

 The far reaching impact of Zionist occupation in Palestine was felt in the west with massive rallies being organised against Israeli aggression two months ago, now this impact has penetrated into the 2021 Tokyo Olympics as two Muslim athletes have refused to play against an Israeli judo athlete. 

Algeria’s Fethi Nourine and Mohamed Abdel Rasoul from Sudan both withdrew, in the same week, from the 73 kg Judo competition as they were to take on 27-year-old Israeli athlete Tohar Butbul. 

The decision was taken by Nourine, according to media sources, because of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Nourine said that he was supporting the Palestinians against Israeli atrocities.  

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Few days after Nourine, Mohamed Abdel Rasoul of Sudan, who ranked 469th in the world of Judo, also withdrew. However, he didn’t give a formal justification for his backing out, but experts are saying that it is because of the same reason as Fatehi Nourine. 

Earlier, in a discussion with Algerian television, Nourine said, “We worked hard to reach the Olympic games, but the Palestinian cause is bigger than all of this.” He added that he has always been firm about his place in Palestine.  

Furthermore, he said that he is against the normalisation of atrocities committed by Israel in the Games, and if it causes him to be dismissed from the Olympic Games, he is ready for it. “I hope the one above is watching and he will make up for it,” he remarked. 

Similarly, in the 2019 Judo World Championships, Nourine was scheduled to take on Butbul, but the Algerian athlete backed out from the match in solidarity with Palestine. After this incident, the International Judo Federation had suspended Nourine. 

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