Mohamed Abdalrasool has become the second judoka to be sent home from the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games for refusing to compete against the Israeli Tohar Butbul in the men’s 73kg weight category.
The Sudanese athlete was ordered to leave the Games having unexpectedly withdrawn from his match-up with Butbul despite having attended the weigh-in earlier on Monday.His ordered expulsion from the Olympics follows that of Algerian judoka Fethi Nourine, who refused to fight against Butbul on the basis of his support for Palestine.
Abdalrasool, who is ranked 467th in the world compared to Butbul’s ranking of 7th, is yet to make any public statement giving reason for the sudden abandonment.Plans had already been made to send Nourine home after his accreditation was removed and now Abdalrasool faces the same fate.
Abdalrasool’s team have claimed his no-show came as a result of a shoulder injury, but Butbul and his entourage are unconvinced by the explanation.Previously, Nourine had told Algerian TV that “we have worked hard to qualify for the Games but the Palestinian cause is bigger than all that.
“My position is consistent on the Palestinian issue, and I reject normalisation, and if that costs me my absence from the Olympic Games, God will compensate.”
Eventually he succumbed to South Korean Changrim An in the quarter final and again was defeated by Canada’s Arthur Margelidon in the repechage.
Butbul’s disappointment over not getting a medal was clear in his post-match statements as he avoided becoming embroiled in politics:
“I came with a pure aim to win a medal, and it’s very hard for me to bear that I didn’t fulfil my own expectations.
“That was the goal I put into the whole of my career. It’s still too early for me to understand what happened. I wasn’t precise in executing my plan, but in judo sometimes there is a gap between how you plan and what is in reality.”The gold medal at the 73kg weight category was won by Ono Shohei of Japan.