UAE judo competition to treat Israelis equally

Abu Dhabi Grand Slam reinstated after its organizers promise equal treatment to Israeli athletes.

Elad Benari ,

Judo (illustration)
Judo (illustration)

A judo competition in the United Arab Emirates was reinstated on Monday after its organizers promised equal treatment to Israeli athletes, reported The Associated Press.

In July, the International Judo Federation suspended both the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam and an event in Tunisia from its schedule after the hosts failed to confirm that Israeli athletes would receive equal treatment.

On Monday, however, the judo body said the UAE national federation confirmed "all nations participating ... will have the possibility to do so in equal conditions."

The IJF added that the "historic decision will thus allow all nations to display their national insignia and national anthem, including Israel."

Last October, organizers of the Grand Slam tournament in Abu Dhabi refused to play Israel’s national anthem when Israeli judoka Tal Flicker won a gold medal.

Flicker was wearing an International Judo Federation uniform and received his medal under an IJF flag while the anthem of the federation was played.

The restrictions on the Israelis continued despite the fact that the IJF had called on the United Arab Emirates to treat Israeli athletes equally during the Grand Slam tournament.

In April, four young Israeli athletes were banned from competing in the taekwondo world junior championship event in Tunisia.

A month later, a bid by Tunisia to host the 2022 Youth Olympics was blocked because the country had banned the Israeli athletes.

This year’s Abu Dhabi competition is scheduled for October 25-27.

The UAE, like many Arab countries, does not have diplomatic ties with Israel. Many Muslim countries which do not have relations with Israel have barred its athletes from taking part in sporting events in their countries, or have restricted them in cases in which they have been permitted to participate.