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Algerian judoka defends refusal to face Israeli opponent

Algerian judoka Fethi Nourine   -  
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Algerian judoka Fethi Nourine has said that his judo career is not over, despite being sent home by the Algerian Olympic Committee after he refused to face Israeli Tohar Butbul at Tokyo 2020.

Nourine and his coach, Amar Benikhlef, told Algerian media that they were boycotting Butbul to support the Palestinian cause.

"The reaction of the Algerian delegation was understandable, they were under a lot of pressure from the International Olympic Committee to suspend all the delegation. Some of them criticized me, but that made me all the more determined because I understand the issue well," Nourine said. 

The International Judo Federation has suspended both men and said they could face further sanctions, but Nourine remains unrepentant.

"I will stay faithful to my rights and defend my beliefs. I will not be defeated," he told SNTV.

Tokyo 2020 marked the second time in two years that ninth-ranked Nourine had withdrawn from a major judo competition rather than take on sixth-ranked Butbul.

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