Jordanian taekwondo champion refuses to face Israeli athlete

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Taekwondo fighters from Turkey (L) and Israel compete during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan, on July 24, 2021.
JAVIER SORIANO / AFPTaekwondo fighters from Turkey (L) and Israel compete during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan, on July 24, 2021.

The refusal of Arab and Muslim athletes to face their Israeli counterparts is a common move

A Jordanian athlete on Sunday withdrew from a taekwondo championship in Bulgaria to avoid facing an Israeli opponent, a move becoming more common by representatives of countries without diplomatic relations with Israel.

Maysir Al-Dahamsheh, a member of the Jordanian junior women's taekwondo team, took the initiative after reaching the final of the World Cadet Taekwondo Championships, the Middle East Monitor reported.

Her withdrawal came two months after a similar move by Jordanian national fencer Eya al-Zamer, who quit the World Junior Fencing Championship in the United Arab Emirates so as not to face an Israeli opponent.

Last summer, it was a Jordanian national table tennis player who did the same at the World Table Tennis Championships in Slovenia. 

The refusal of Arab and Muslim athletes to face their Israeli counterparts has become a common move, especially among those representing countries that do not have diplomatic relations with the Jewish state, unlike Jordan.

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Last week, Algerian soccer player Ahmed Touba refused to accompany his team, İstanbul Basaksehir, to a game against Israeli team Maccabi Netanya for the second leg of the Europa Conference League. 

He also refused to take part in the first leg of the tournament in Istanbul on July 21.

After banning its athletes from competing against Israelis, the Iranian Judo Federation was handed a four-year suspension by the International Judo Federation (IJF) for "repeated and serious violations" of the organization's statutes and values.

It was the second time that the IJF imposed sanctions on the Iranian Judo Federation in this case.

Jordan and Israel have held diplomatic relations together since 1994, though the neighbors' interactions in the intervening years have at times been tense. 

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