An Algerian judo fighter on Thursday decided to withdraw from the Tokyo Olympics in order to avoid competing against Israeli judoka Tohar Butbul.
Fethi Nurin (weight class 73kg) announced his decision a day before the Games are due to officially kick off.
Nurin’s withdrawal from the Games came hours after a draw on Thursday morning that paired Nurin against Sudanese Judoka Mohamed Abdalrasool in the first round.
The winner of the first round would have to fight against Butbul in the second round if the Israeli athlete were to win his match.
This is the second time Nurin withdrew from a high-profile competition in order to avoid the possibility of being paired up against Butbul. The first incident occurred at the 2019 World Judo Championships in Japan.
Nurin's coach and former prefessional judoka, Amar Benikhlef, said: "We were unlucky with the draw. We got an Israeli opponent and that is why we had to withdraw. We made the right decision."
With Nurin’s retirement from the Tokyo Olympics, Butbul is now set to compete against Abdalrasool - a relative newcomer who participated in the African Games in 2019 and the African Championships in 2021.