The International Judo Federation decided earlier yesterday that it would effectively be ending the Judo career of Algerian Fethi Nourine – and his coach.
The athlete and his coach were suspended for 10 years following the choice to withdraw from the Tokyo Olympics after the draw set him on course for a bout against an Israeli athlete.
The 30 year old was to first randori with Sudan’s Mohamed Abdalrasool in the men’s 73kg class when he realized the victory would lead to him dueling Israel’s Tohar Butbul in the very next round.
Nourine went on to clarify that his political support for the Palestinian cause made the match unfathomable for him.
Algerian Olympic Committee went on to withdraw the accreditation for both Nourine and coach Amar Benikhlef and sent them home from the Tokyo Games.
The IJF initially temporarily suspended Nourine and Benikhlef in order to investigate the case. The two were said to have used the Games “as a platform for protest and promotion of political and religious propaganda” which in turned breached the code of ethics and the Olympic Charter of IJF.
This effectively means the two cannot compete in any IJF events and activities up to July 23rd 2031.
Nourine is saddened by the decision but has no regrets about the choice he made.
“It is a harsh punishment but it was expected and this proves that they support the Zionist terrorism against our people in Gaza,” Nourine said
He clarified: “I have not committed any violations; my withdrawal was simply an act of solidarity with the Palestinians.”
This decision can be appealed in the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
Making the punishment more severe, is that Nourine had done something like this prior to the Olympics. Back in 2019, he pulled out of the 2019 World Championships in Tokyo for the same reason.
You can read the whole decision here.