The International Judo Federation (IJF) has punished Algerian Fethi Nourine and his coach for a decade for withdrawing from the Tokyo Olympics after the draw placed him in a match against an Israeli.
The 30-year-old was set to face Sudan’s Mohamed Abdalrasool in his first fight in the men’s 73kg division, and a win would have put him in the following round against Israel’s Tohar Butbul.
Nourine claimed that his political support for the Palestinian cause made competing against Butbul impossible.
The Algerian Olympic Committee revoked Nourine’s and his coach Amar Benikhlef’s accreditation and sent them home from the Tokyo Olympics.
Nourine and Benikhlef were temporarily suspended by the IJF for using the Games “as a forum for protest and promotion of political and religious propaganda,” according to the IJF’s code of ethics and the Olympic Charter.
They have been barred from all IJF events and activities until July 23, 2031, though they can appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport,
Nourine has previously withdrew from competition in order to avoid competing against an Israeli opponent. For the same reason, he withdrew from the 2019 World Championships in Tokyo.
Tensions in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict have risen again this year, with cross-border violence sparked by clashes in contested Jerusalem.