Saturday Jul 31, 2021
TOKYO: A Saudi Arabian judo Olympian ditched the pressure to boycott her bout with Israel’s Raz Hershko at the Tokyo Olympics, unlike the two male judo stars from Muslim countries who preferred termination rather than facing an Israeli opponent, reported The Daily Mail.
The publication stated that the judoka, Tahani al-Qahtani, not only fought against Hershko but also shook hands with her to express support following the bout.
With Algeria’s Fethi Nourine and Sudan’s Mohamed Abdalrasool abandoning the contests, Al Qahtani had been surrounded by questions and expectations about whether she would follow the footsteps of her Muslim peers or not. However, Al Qahtani heading towards the ring to face Hershko on Friday answered the questions and left many disappointed.
The fight was concluded with Hershko’s winning ippon, the judo equivalent of a knockout blow, within the span of one minute and 44 seconds.
This was followed by the pair’s bow to each other and clasp of hands to show solidarity.
Last week, Fethi Nourine from Algeria was sent back from Tokyo Games after being dismissed by the International Judo Foundation for avoiding contesting Israeli opposite Butbul.
“We worked a lot to reach the Olympics, but the Palestinian cause is bigger than all of this,” said Nourine.
It was not the first time when Nourine left the game as he did the same earlier in World Judo Championships back in 2019 before facing Butbul.
The judoka quit the contest saying he didn't want to 'get his hands dirty' by facing Israel in the ring.
Following Nourine sent packing, Sudanese judoka, Mohamed Abdalrasool, dropped out of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics after failing to show up to face Butbul, in their round 32 match.
However, neither the Sudanese officials designated for the Olympics nor did Abdalrasool made a clear comment about the withdrawal. But the reason seems obvious despite being unstated.