"I am glad I angered the Zionists": Algerian Judoka

TEHRAN, Jul. 30 (MNA) – Warmly welcomed upon his return home, Algerian judoka Fethi Noorin, who refused to face an Israeli opponent at the Tokyo Olympics, said he was “proud” of his decision.

Fathi Noorin (30) withdrew from the Olympics last week to avoid meeting Israel’s Tohar Butbul in the -73kg category. He was then suspended by the International Judo Federation (IJF), and his recognition was withdrawn.

The athlete was hailed as a hero upon his return to Algiers on Thursday.

Upon his arrival, he said he was “proud” that he refused to face an Israeli opponent at the Tokyo Olympics in solidarity with the Palestinian cause.

"I made this decision with my coach and I am proud of it," he said, adding that he and the Algerian nation and government were proud of him.

Al-Quds Al-Arabi newspaper quoted the athlete as saying that the reason for this was that Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune had  said in front of the whole world that "we do not consider normalization [of ties with Israeli regime] a happy event and we support the Palestinian issue."

Noorin further stressed, "I am happy that I angered the Zionist regime and received calls from the Arab and Islamic world [in a sign of support]."

KI/FNA14000507000648

News Code 176716

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