Just days after U.N. secretary-general Ban Ki-moon announced the traditional Olympic Truce, which calls for people and nations to “set aside their differences” during the international Games, news emerged that the one Iranian athlete likely to face an Israeli in competition has withdrawn due to a “gut infection,” CNS news reported.
While Iran and a number of other Islamic counties have pulled athletes from international competitions in the past rather than be forced to compete against Israelis, International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Jacques Rogge recently warned that “sanctions will be taken” if any athlete withdraws from a competition without an explanation that is upheld by an independent medical board.
Iranian Javad Mahjoub qualified in the same half-heavyweight judo category as Ariel Ze’evi, an Israeli who won the bronze medal in Athens in 2004.
However, Iranian Sports Medicine Federation head Lotfali Pour-Kazemi said this week that Mahjoub’s condition required a 10-day antibiotic course and that he would not be able to compete in the August 2 competition, CNS news reported.
An Iranian judo website quoted him as saying that the judoka was experiencing “weakness, nausea and vomiting.”
Mahjoub’s name still appeared on the Iranian national Olympic committee (NOC) list of 54 competitors at the London games.
During the 2011 Judo World Cup in Tashkent, Mahjoub was scheduled to compete against another Israeli, Or Sasson, but refused to do so.
In the 2011world judo championships, a Tunisian competitor similarly withdrew in order to avoid facing Ze’evi, who ended up winning the silver medal.
Iranians also withdrew from a judo competition in the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens and from a swimming match in Beijing in 2008.
Last month, Iran’s IRNA news agency quoted Sports Minister Mohammad Abbasi as saying that Iranian athletes would refuse to compete against Israelis.
“Not competing with the Zionist athletes is one of the values and prides of the Iranian athletes and nation,” he said.