Defying boycott trend, Saudi judoka competes against Israeli

Amid trend of judokas refusing to compete against Israelis, Saudi Arabian judoka faces off against Israeli at Olympics, and shakes her hand.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

רז הרשקו והיריבה הסעודית
רז הרשקו והיריבה הסעודית
צילום:הוועד האולימפי בישראל

Israel defeated Saudi Arabia at the Tokyo Olympics Friday, after the Saudi judoka resisted pressure to boycott her Israeli opponent.

Israel’s Raz Hershko defeated Saudi Arabia’s Tahani al-Qahtani in the Women’s 78 Kilo Judo category at the Tokyo Games.

Prior to the match, it was unclear if al-Qahtani would show up to the scheduled bout, amid heavy pressure for her to boycott the Israeli athlete.

A number of judokas from Arab and Muslim-majority countries have refused to compete against Israeli opponents in recent years, including several judokas at the Tokyo Games.

Algerian Fethi Nourine was suspended by the International Judo Federation on Saturday and ordered to leave Tokyo after pulling out of the men's 73kg event in order to avoid Israeli Tohar Butbul.

On Monday, Sudan’s Mohamed Abdalrasool also withdrew from the competition rather than face Butbul.

But not only did al-Qahtani show up to Friday’s bout, she shared a sportsman-like post match embrace with Hershko, with the two raising their hands together in a show of solidarity.

Hershko was later eliminated from the Games after defeating al-Qahtani.