Dhe Algerian judoka Fethi Nourine has been banned from competitions by the International Judo Federation (IJF) for ten years because of his withdrawal from the Tokyo Olympics. Nourine’s coach Amar Benikhlef was also suspended for ten years on Monday.
Nourine had refused a possible fight against an Israeli at the Tokyo Games and refused to participate in the Olympics. The world association then started investigations against the 30-year-old athlete and his coach. Both had already been provisionally suspended in Tokyo.
Support for Palestine
Nourine could have met the Israeli Tohar Butbul in the weight class up to 73 kilograms. As a result, both the athlete and the coach expressed in the Algerian media their intention not to play at the games and justified this by saying that they did not want to fight an Israeli.
Nourine and Benikhlef said they waived to express their support for the Palestinians. The Algerian Olympic Committee revoked both men’s accreditations and sent them home.
“It is evident that the two Algerian judoka maliciously used the Olympic Games as a platform for protest and to promote political and religious propaganda in a clear and serious violation of the IJF Statutes, the IJF Code of Ethics and the Olympic Charter represents ”, it said in the IJF declaration. Nourine and Benikhlef can now appeal their bans to the sports arbitration tribunal.