Sudanese Judoka Withdraws from Olympics in Solidarity with Palestine

Sudan’s Mohamed Abdalrasool has pulled out of an Olympics scheduled match with Tohar Butbul, an Israeli.

Officials in Tokyo, where the Games are being held, said Abdalrasool did not show up for his second-round match in the -73-kg category on Monday despite weighing in for the bout earlier.

He is the second judoka to have pulled out of facing an Israeli opponent after Algeria’s Fethi Nourine, who should have fought Abdalrasool in the first round, quit to avoid a potential bout with the Israeli.

The International Judo Federation (IJF) suspended the 30-year-old Nourine, who was quoted as telling Algerian television: “We worked a lot to reach the Olympics. But the Palestinian cause is bigger than all this.”

Abdulrasool is ranked 469th in the world in his weight class, while Butbul is seventh.

In 2019, Nourine quit the world championships just before a Butbul challenge.

Sudanese Olympic officials also didn’t immediately comment.

Sudan signed the Abraham Accords with the United States in January, opening the door to normalizing its relations with Israel. However, a report in the media earlier this month said that the outcome of the agreement has disappointed the people of Sudan and had been widely protested in Sudan.

The IJF has been firm in its anti-discrimination policies and strong support of Israel’s right to compete in recent years. In April, the body suspended Iran for four years because the country refused to allow its fighters to face Israelis.

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