Iranian Jiu-Jitsu Competitor refused To Face Israeli Opponent

Hamid Amraei was initially scheduled to compete in the 77-kilogram class of the AJP Tour Fujairah International Pro Jiu-Jitsu Championship in Abu Dhabi. He was supposed to face a Brazilian opponent.

Subsequently the BJJ brown belt withdrew from the competition because Amraei was matched with an an Israeli opponent due to a change in the draw.

Amraei hasn’t officially stated the reason for his withdrawal. He apparently complained about the opponent swap after it was revealed. However, it hasn’t been verified officially if his resignation from the AJP Tour jiu-jitsu competition is because of the opponent’s country of origin.

In recent years, there have been other instances of athletes declining to participate against Israeli opponents. Numerous athletes from Muslim nations have made it a point to avoid participating in major international competitions when paired with Israeli competitors due to the present political situation between Israel and Palestine.

The most well-known instance of these sports protests occurred at the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics. Two judokas opted out of the event rather than compete against Israeli athletes.

Fethi Nourine of Algeria was not originally slated to compete against the Israeli athlete at the Olympics. However, he withdrew owing to the possibility of doing so if he progressed in the competition. Mohamed Adbalrasool of Sudan chose to withdraw from the tournament after the Algerian and claimed identical reasons.

For the same reasons, Nourine had earlier pulled out of the Tokyo 2019 Judo World Championships. The Algerian claimed his support for Palestine as his reason for not participating. He declared his withdrawal from the Olympics one day before the start of the competition.

“We worked a lot to reach the Olympics… but the Palestinian cause is bigger than all of this,” Nourine said after making his declaration.