Algeria’s Judoka Fethi Noreen has withdrawn from the Tokyo Olympics after drawing for a possible match-up against an Israeli opponent following a draw.
Noreen was due to face Sudanese judoka Mohammed Abdulsoul on Monday for her first bout, and in the next round she will face Tohar Batbal of Israel.
Speaking to an Algerian television station late on Thursday, Noreen said his political support for the Palestinian cause made it impossible for him to compete with any Israeli.
“We worked hard to get to the Olympics … but the goal of Palestine is the biggest of them all,” he said, adding that his decision was “final”.
After being knocked out of the 2019 World Championships in Tokyo, this is not the first time Noreen has withdrawn from the competition to avoid an Israeli rival.
Iranian judokas have also come under fire for refusing to compete with their Israeli counterparts.