An Algerian judo athlete, Fethi Nourine, says he chose to withdraw from the 2020 Tokyo Olympics rather than face an Israeli competitor.
Nourine told Echourouk TV, “I decided to withdraw out of conviction, because this is the very least we can offer the Palestinian cause. This is my duty. My goal in withdrawing is to send a message to the whole world that Israel is an occupation, a lawless country, a country without a flag.”
Nourine was scheduled to face Mohamed Abdalrasool from Sudan in Round 64 of the men's 73 kg class.
According to Reuters, if Nourine defeated Abdalrasool, the Algerian would have met Israel's Tohar Butbul in the following round. Butbul had a bye in the Round of 64.
CNN's Taylor Barnes and Aqeel Najim in Baghdad contributed to this report.