Second athlete sent home from Tokyo Olympics for refusing to face Israeli opponent

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A second opponent has dropped out of facing Israel’s Tohar Butbul (pictured) (REUTERS)
A second opponent has dropped out of facing Israel’s Tohar Butbul (pictured) (REUTERS)

A second judoka has dropped out of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics before facing Israel’s Tohar Butbul.

Sudan’s Mohamed Abdalrasool weighed in for the 73-kilogram division bout on Monday but then failed to show up to face Butbul in their round 32 match.

 The International Judo Foundation didn’t immediately announce a reason why Abdalrasool didn’t compete. Sudanese Olympic officials also didn’t immediately comment.

Algeria’s Fethi Nourine was sent home from the Tokyo Games and suspended by the IJF on Saturday after he also withdrew to avoid a potential matchup with Butbul. 

“We worked a lot to reach the Olympics, but the Palestinian cause is bigger than all of this,” said Nourine.

Nourine‘s coach Amar Benikhlef told Algerian media: “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.”

Nourine was supposed to face Abdalrasool for the right to meet Butbul.

The International Judo Federation subsequently announced that both Nourine and his coach have been suspended pending an investigation.

Abdalrasool is the world’s 469th-ranked judoka in his weight class, while the accomplished Butbul is seventh.

Nourine also quit the World Judo Championships in 2019 right before he was scheduled to face Butbul.

Additional reporting by agencies

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