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Second Athlete Sent Home From Tokyo Olympics For Refusing To Face Israeli Opponent

A second athlete refused to face an Israeli opponent in the judo match and has been sent home from the Tokyo Olympics. 
Credit: olympics.com & @toharbutbal/Instagram

A second athlete has refused to face an Israeli opponent at the Tokyo Olympics and has been sent home. 

Mohamed Abdalrasool, from Sudan, failed to turn up for and compete against Tohar Butbal in their round 32 match, despite weighing in for the 73-kilogram division bout.

So far, the International Judo Foundation (IJF) hasn’t revealed the reason as to why the Olympian didn’t show up.

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According to the Independent, Abdalrasool is currently ranked as the world’s 469th-ranked judoka within his weight class. Butbal is the seventh.

Algeria’s Fethi Nourine was sent home earlier this week when he withdrew from a potential match against Butbal.

When questioned, Nourine said he was confident he had made the ‘right decision’.

He reportedly told Algerian media: “We worked a lot to reach the Olympics, but the Palestinian cause is bigger than all of this.

“We were not lucky with the draw. We got an Israeli opponent and that’s why we had to retire. We made the right decision.”

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A second athlete has refused to face Israeli opponent Tohar Butbal in the Tokyo Olympics. Credit: @toharbutbal/Instagram

After refusing to compete, the IJF announced that both Nourine and his coach would be suspended following an investigation.

In a statement, the foundation said it was against its ‘philosophy’ to refuse an opponent.

A spokesperson commented: “The IJF has a strict non-discrimination policy, promoting solidarity as a key principle, reinforced by the values of judo.”

It was then added that there could be further sanctions, even ‘beyond the Olympic Games’.

During the 2016 games in Rio, Egypt’s Islam El Shehaby also quit the sport, as he refused to shake the hands of his Israeli opponent, Or Sasson, who was victorious.

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