tokyo olympics 2020
Image Source: The Guardian

It takes years of struggle to compete  internationally to get noticed and qualifying for the Olympics. Hence, when someone abandons the chance to perform at the Olympics, it has to be something huge. Tokyo Olympics 2020 has already seen two such instances.

Tokyo Olympics players facing Israeli athlete opt-out 

Two judoka players have, to date, withdrawn from the competition. They chose to not appear for their match. One of these players belongs to Sudan while the other is from Algeria. Both of them were to face an Israeli athlete, named Tohar Butbul. The athlete from Israel is ranked seven in the global ranking. He was able to proceed without having to put in any effort in two matches. Even then, Tohar did not win any medals.

Choosing to not appear for your Olympic competition is a significant issue but the Sudanese and Algerian players let go of the opportunity.

Algerian Athlete Fethi Nourine

Upon asking, Algerian judoka athlete, Fethi Nourine said that he prepared a lot for the Olympics and he was ready to compete but because he was paired with an Israeli, he chose to sit it out. He mentioned his stance on the Israel Gaza conflict saying the Palestinian issue is a much bigger cause. Of course, now that he has revealed himself to be pro-Palestinian, there are going to be consequences; top of the list is him getting his license suspended by the International Judo Federation. They have also suspended the license of Nourine’s coach.

Sudanese Abdurrasool

The other athlete who did not appear for the match was Sudanese. Sudan’s Abdurrasool was also to have a face-off with the same Israeli player. He, too, chose to not appear. Unlike Nourine, he did not specify his reason to be Israel-Gaza conflict. Rather, the statement by the Sudanese team was that Abdurrasool had sustained a shoulder injury. Israel has refused to believe the story.

Some decisions can affect your entire career. Knowing that, you still take that particular decision, shows how solid you are in your beliefs. In the case of the Nourine, the belief was showing support for Palestine.

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