Algerian judo athlete withdraws from match against Israeli opponent

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An Algerian judo athlete is being sent home from the Tokyo Olympics after he withdrew from a match to avoid a possible competition against an Israeli opponent, AP reports.

Driving the news: Fethi Nourine and his coach, Amar Benikhlef, told Algerian media they were withdrawing to avoid a potential second-round matchup on Monday with Israel’s Tohar Butbul in the men’s 73 kg division, per AP.

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  • The International Judo Federation's executive committee temporarily suspended the Algerian pair and they are likely to face sanctions beyond the Olympics, per AP.

  • The IJF said Nourine’s position was "in total opposition to the philosophy of the International Judo Federation. The IJF has a strict non-discrimination policy, promoting solidarity as a key principle, reinforced by the values of judo," per AP.

  • The Algerian Olympic committee took away Nourine and Benikhlef's accreditation and arranged for them to be sent home.

The big picture: Nourine and Benikhlef attributed their decision to withdraw to their political support for Palestinians, per AP.

  • Nourine also withdrew from the World Judo Championships in 2019 before he was scheduled to face Butbul, who is considered a more accomplished judo athlete than Nourine.

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