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Second Olympian drops out of judo competition before facing Israeli

A second judo athlete has dropped out of the Olympics before facing an Israeli in the 73-kilogram division — just days after another opponent withdrew for political reasons.

Sudan’s Mohamed Abdalrasool didn’t show up to face Tohar Butbul in their round of 32 bout Monday despite weighing in for it earlier.

The International Judo Foundation, which didn’t immediately announce a reason why Abdalrasool didn’t compete, didn’t respond to requests for comment by the Associated Press. Sudanese Olympic officials also didn’t immediately comment.

But it comes after Algeria’s Fethi Nourine was sent home from Tokyo and suspended by the IJF on Saturday after he withdrew to avoid a potential matchup with Butbul.

The Algerian, who is ranked 31st, explicitly cited his support for Palestinians for his decision in the Olympics.

Nourine was supposed to face Abdalrasool, the world’s 469th-ranked judoka in his weight class, for the right to meet the Israeli, who is ranked seventh.

Nourine also quit the World Judo Championships in 2019 right before he was to face the Israeli.

Close up of Israel's Tohar Butbul's hand opening a water bottle.
Algeria’s Fethi Nourine had also withdrawn rather than face Israel’s Tohar Butbul.
AFP via Getty Images

Butbul, meanwhile, said his team was told Sudan’s Abdalrasool had a shoulder injury — a reason that didn’t exactly convince Butbul or the Israeli team.

“These are things that sometimes occur in judo, so it wasn’t that odd for me,” Butbul said through a translator Monday. “I just had to wait, stay focused and wait for my first chance.”

Butbul went on to beat Victor Sterpu of Moldova and advanced to the quarterfinals against South Korean star An Changrim, who beat him.

The Israeli then lost to Arthur Margelidon of Canada in repechage, ending his first Olympics effectively in seventh place.

Tohar Butbul of Israel (white judogi) throws Rio Olympic champion Fabio Basile of Italy without a score.
“These are things that sometimes occur in judo, so it wasn’t that odd for me,” Tohar Butbul (top) said about the withdrawals.
Getty Images

He refused to talk about politics, instead lamenting his athletic shortcomings.

“I came with a pure aim to win a medal, and it’s very hard for me to bear that I didn’t fulfill my own expectations,” Butbul said.

“That was the goal I put into the whole of my career. It’s still too early for me to understand what happened. I wasn’t precise in executing my plan, but in judo sometimes there is a gap between how you plan and what is in reality.”

With Post wires

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New York Post

The New York Post is a daily tabloid newspaper in New York City. The Post also operates NYPost.com, the celebrity gossip site PageSix.com and the entertainment site Decider.com.

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