Algerian judoka Fethi Nourine quits after Olympics ban

Algeria's Fethi Nourine quits judo following Tokyo Olympics ban for Palestine solidarity
2 min read
22 November, 2021
Algerian judoka Fethi Nourine announced his retirement two months after being been banned from all official competitions for 10 years by the International Judo Federation after Nourine chose to boycott his Israeli opponent.
Fethi Nourine was banned after snubbing his Israeli opponent [Getty]

Algerian judoka Fethi Nourine announced his retirement from the sport two months after being been banned from competitions after his withdrawal from the Tokyo Olympics where he faced an Israeli competitor.

Nourine and his coach Ammar Benikhlef were banned from all official competitions for 10 years by the International Judo Federation in September after he chose to boycott his Israeli opponent during the Olympics in July, in solidarity with the Palestinian cause.

"I decided to retire, after the decision to suspend me for 10 years," he said in a video.

"I know that international federations have always colluded with Zionist terrorism, especially the International Judo Federation, and perhaps the best evidence is that my punishment remains the same even after filing an appeal.

"Now I am in my city, and I went to training and supervised the training of a sports club in Algeria, and God willing, I will be able to give my experiences to the younger generations.

"I will never stop supporting the Palestinian cause, no matter what," he urged.

Nourine does not regret his career-ending solidarity gesture, he said, and will continue to support the Palestinian cause.

"I do not regret it. On the contrary, I am proud of this and this punishment, and I will take advantage of any opportunity that comes to me to reveal facts about... [Israel] and defend the Palestinian cause in any way, God willing.

"I renew my thanks to all the loyal supporters in the world."

Nourine withdrew from the Olympics on the opening day of the  Tokyo Games after learning he could potentially face Israeli bronze medalist Tohar Butbul in the second round of men's lightweight competition.

Nourine and Benikhlef told Algerian media they quit to express support for Palestinians.

The New Arab has contacted the Algerian Judo Federation for comment.