Saudi judoka avoids facing Israeli in the Olympics

August 7, 2016  

A Saudi Arabian judoka on Sunday forfeited her first-round match at the Rio Olympic Games, in what is believed to be a move made to avoid facing Israeli judo fighter Gili Cohen in the second round.

The Saudi judoka, Joud Fahmy, was to have faced off against Christianne Legentil from Mauritius, but the Saudi Olympic team claimed through Twitter that Fahmy had sustained injuries to her arm and leg during training and was advised by medical staff not to compete.

Israel’s Channel 2 News, however, reported that Fahmy was not hurt and that she had simply dropped out to avoid competing against Cohen.

The incident comes two days after Lebanese athletes refused to share a bus with Israeli counterparts to get to the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games.

On Sunday, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) reprimanded the Lebanese delegation over the incident.

Culture and Sport Minister Miri Regev welcomed the move, saying, “I applaud the IOC for dealing with the despicable and anti-Semitic behavior of the Lebanese delegation. I expect the IOC to act in this manner against any incident of anti-Semitism and exclusion of Israeli athletes in competitions around the world.”

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