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Algerian judoka Fethi Nourine is quitting the Olympic games after the competition’s draw set him up for a potential matchup against an Israeli opponent.
Nourine told Algerian TV that his political support for Palestine made it impossible for him to compete against Tohar Butbul, the Israeli judoka.
"We worked a lot to reach the Olympics, and the news came as a shock, a thunder," he said.
The 30-year-old added that his decision was "final," and he would not "get his hands dirty."
Nourine was set to face Sudan’s Mohamed Abdalrasool on Monday, and if he earned the victory, he would have faced Butbul, who has a first-round bye in their weight class.
Athletes from other countries, including Egypt and Iran, have also declined the option to face Israeli athletes previously. For Nourine, this is not the first time he has done so.
In 2019, he withdrew himself from the world championships in Tokyo for the same reason.
"We were unlucky with the draw. We got an Israeli opponent and that's why we had to retire. We made the right decision," Nourine's coach Amar Ben Yaklif told Alergian media.
The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games began on Friday, July 23 and run until Sunday, August 8.
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