The International Olympic Committee (IOC) said Tuesday it was “concerned” by two judokas withdrawing from their competition at the Tokyo Games ahead of matches with an Israeli athlete.
Leading IOC official James Macleod told reporters the organization “would take action” should there be “flagrant abuse of the Olympic Charter.”
In the -73kg class, Algerian Fethi Nourine withdrew from his first round bout with Sudan’s Mohamed Abdalrasool to avoid a potential second round meeting with Israel’s Tohar Butbul. Abdalrasool then scratched himself ahead of his own meeting with Butbul.
Nourine told Algerian television it was due to his belief in the Palastinian cause and was subsequently suspended by the governing body IJF and sent home. Abdalrasool did not give a public reason for the move.
“We will investigate anything that is raised to us, and work with the NOC (National Olympic Committee) [and] IFs (International Federations) on a case by case basis,” said Macleod.
“The IOC has been very clear that non-discrimination and autonomy are things we will not flinch from.”