Sudan’s Mohamed Abdalrasool quits the Olympics instead of facing Israeli fighter Tohar Butbul – days after pro-Palestine Algerian competitor was sent home for refusing to shake his hand
Mohamed Abdalrasool, 28, of Sudan, was a no-show for his fight against 27-year-old Tohar Butbul in the 73kg class on Monday morning.
It comes after Fethi Nourine of Algeria quit the contest last week because he might have had to fight Butbul, saying he was protesting Israel’s treatment of Palestinians.
Abdalrasool, ranked 469th in the world, has not given a reason for withdrawing from the fight, having shown up for the weigh-in earlier in the day.
Israeli judoka Tohar Butbul advanced in the men’s 73kg contest at the Tokyo Olympics after two of his opponent withdrew from the contest
Nourine was originally due to face Abdalrasool in the opening round of the men’s 73kg content with the winner of that fight progressing to face Butbul, who skipped the opening round due to his high ranking – seventh in the world.
But the 30-year-old Algerian and his coach Amar Benikhlef announced their decision to withdraw from the contest on Thursday rather than risk facing an Israeli opponent.
Mohamed Abdalrasool, of Sudan, was due to face Butbul in the round of 32 but didn’t show up for the fight – no reason was given
Nourine later told Algerian TV that he didn’t want to ‘get his hands dirty’ and that withdrawing was the ‘right thing to do.’
‘We have worked hard to qualify for the Games, but the Palestinian cause is bigger than all that,’ he said.
‘My position is consistent on the Palestinian issue, and I reject normalisation, and if it cost me that absence from the Olympic Games, God will compensate.’
It is not the first time Nourine has walked out on a competition to avoid facing Butbul, having quit the 2019 world championships in Tokyo for the same reason.
The International Judo Federation subsequently suspended Nourine and Benikhlef, while the Algerian Olympic Committee withdrew their accreditation and sent them home from Tokyo – with further sanctions awaiting on their return.
Sudanese Olympic officials and the IJF have yet to comment on the reasons behind Abdalrasool’s withdrawal.
Butbul subsequently advanced to the round of 16 without a fight, before being beaten by Canada’s Arthur Margelidon.
Margelidon then advanced to one of the two bronze medal fights, before being beaten by Mongolia’s Tsogtbaatar Tsend-Ochir to finish just off the podium.
Fethi Nourine of Algeria withdrew from the judo contest last week after it emerged he might end up facing Butbul, saying it was a protest against Israel’s treatment of Palestinians
Butbul advanced to the round of 16 without a fight, before being beaten by Canada’s Arthur Margelidon (pictured winning the bout)