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An Algerian Olympian and his coach have copped a 10-year ban for withdrawing from the Tokyo Games in a bid to avoid facing an Israeli opponent.
Judoka Fethi Nourine and former Olympic silver-medallist coach Amar Benikhlef pulled out of the Olympics at the last minute after realising that a victory in his first bout against Sudan's Mohamed Abdalrasool would see Nourine take on Israel's Tohar Butbul in the following round.
As a result, Nourine and his coach decided to withdraw from the Tokyo Games.
Since then, Nourine has come out and said that his political support for the Palestinian cause meant he was unable to compete, even against Abdalrasool.
It hasn't taken long for the International Judo Federation (IJF) to catch wind of the incident and they have now suspended the Judo star.
"It is evident that the two Algerian judoka, with malicious intent, have used the Olympic Games as a platform for protest and promotion of political and religious propaganda, which is a clear and serious breach of the IJF Statutes, the IJF Code of Ethics and the Olympic Charter," the sport's governing body went said in a statement.
"Therefore, no other penalty than a severe suspension can be imposed in this case."
Algeria's Fethi Nourine and his coach Amar Benikhlef have been suspended for 10 years by the International Judo Federation after withdrawing from the Tokyo Olympics to avoid facing an Israeli opponent.- BBC Sport (@BBCSport) September 14, 2021
The decade-long ban probably ends Nourine's chances of ever competing on the Olympic stage as he'll be 40 when the suspension is lifted.
On top of that, the duo are also barred from from all events and activities that fall under the IJF banner - not just the Olympics.
Unsurprisingly, though, this isn't the first time that Nourine has had a run-in with Judo authorities.
Back in 2019, he withdrew from the World Championships for the same reason - to avoid facing an Israeli competitor.
Well, this time it seems like Nourine's actions have caught up with him and officials have now banned him during the prime of his career.
However, the Algerian pair can appeal their lengthy suspensions to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
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