An Algerian judoka who was suspended by the International Judo Federation (IJF) for refusing to face an Israeli opponent during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics announced his retirement, as well as desire to join the Hamas terrorist organization.
Fethi Nourine forfeited his place in the Tokyo Olympics after being told he would have to face Israeli judoka Tohar Butbul.
Nourine and his coach, Ammar Benikhlef, told Algerian media at the time that they were boycotting Butbul in support of the Palestinian Arab cause. Two years ago, Nourine quit a competition in Tokyo in order to avoid facing Butbul. The Israeli went on to finish in seventh place in the World Championships.
As a result of his refusal to face Butbul, the IJF suspended Nourine in September from all international judo competitions for ten years.
“I decided to retire after the decision to suspend me for 10 years," Nourine said in a video posted to social media this month.
He added: “I know that the international federations have always colluded with Zionist terrorism, especially the International Judo Federation, and perhaps the best proof is that my sentence has remained the same even after an appeal was filed. Now that I am in my city, I went to train and supervise the formation of a sports club in Algeria, and god willing, I will be able to present my experiences to the younger generations. I will never stop supporting the Palestinian cause no matter what."
In an interview with PA news agency Shehab, Nourine opposed the decision of the British government to designate all of Hamas as a terrorist organization and stated his desire to join the organization's military wing as a soldier.
"You are the pride of Palestine and the Arabs. Keep the same principles and approach," Nourine said of Hamas. "I would be a soldier and a fighter with you."
He also called on the larger Arab and Muslim communities to support the Al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas.