Tokyo (QNN)- Algerian athlete Fathi Nurin on Thursday withdrew from Tokyo Olympics in rejection to a matchup with an Israeli athlete named Tohar Botbol.
The matchup meant that Nurin had to meet in the second round of the weight category up to 73 kg against the Israeli settler. Nurin stressed that he rejects any form of normalization with the occupation state.
“My position on the Palestinian issue is firm. I will not recognize the Israeli flag
and I will not get my hands dirty with it,” he told the media in his homeland.
His coach Amar Benhalaf supported Nurin’s decision and added: “We were unlucky in the lottery. Nurin could have met an Israeli opponent and that is the reason for his retirement. We made the right decision.”
Nurin had withdrawn from the World Championship in 2019 after he was unlucky in the lottery, being matched with an Israeli settler.
This is not the first time athletes reject to play against athletes from the occupation state of ‘Israel’. At the 2016 Rio Olympics, the International Olympic Committee sent Egyptian Islam El Shehaby home before the end of the Games for refusing to shake the hand of an Israeli athlete.