Saudi Athlete Withdraws From Olympics To Avoid Israel In Next Round

Joud Fahmy

A Saudi judo competitor Joud Fahmi pulled out of her first-round match at the Olympic Games in Rio De Janeiro on Sunday, ahead of a prospective second-round bout tie with an Israeli rival.

However, Israeli and Saudi accounts offered different reasons for Joud Fahmy's withdrawal.

Israeli press reports claimed that Fahmy decided to leave the competition because she could meet Gili Cohen, a 25-year-old Israeli athlete, in the next round if she managed to secure a victory against Christianne Legentil from Mauritius.

But the Saudi Olympic Delegation tweeted that Fahmy's withdrawal from the games was because of injuries she had picked up in training, and not for political reasons. The Saudi medical team had advised her not to participate, the tweet said.

All Arab and Muslim athletes agree on withdrawing against Israeli players because Israel is an occupying country and playing against its players grants Israel an official recognition.

Fahmy's decision received a large-scale welcome from Arabs in general and Palestinians in particular.

Abdussalam Haneyya, member of the Palestinian Football federation, announced establishing a mural of Fahmy’s photo in appreciation of her position.

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