A major Judo tournament organised by the International Judo Federation is taking place in Abu Dhabi between October 26th and 28th.
However – and not for the first time – members of the Israeli team taking part in that tournament have been barred from displaying the Israeli flag.
“The blue-and-white delegation to the final Grand Slam competition of the year is set to include 12 athletes, but Israel Judo Association chairman Moshe Ponte was informed by the organizers that they won’t be able to have the Israel flag on their judo uniform, as they do in every other event across the world. Instead of having ISR (Israel) by their names on the scoreboard and on their backs, they will have to take part in the contest as representatives of the IJF (International Judo Federation). The national anthem will also not be played, should an Israeli win a gold medal.”
And on the competition’s first day that is exactly what happened.
“An Israeli judoka won a gold medal on Thursday at the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam judo tournament, but had to sing his own private “Hatikvah” because the organizers refused to play the Israeli national anthem.
He also had to celebrate his victory under the International Judo Federation’s flag, because the emirate banned the display of Israeli symbols.
Tournament organizers did not play Israel’s national anthem as Tal Flicker stood on the podium after receiving his medal in the men’s under-66 kilograms (145 pounds) category.
With the medal around his neck, Flicker sang his own “Hatikvah” while the International Judo Federation’s (IJF) anthem played in the background.”
The BBC Sport website (which usually displays an interest in reporting bigotry and discrimination in sport) has no coverage of that story either on its home page or on its Judo page. The BBC News website’s Middle East page similarly did not find this story of blatant discrimination in sport newsworthy.
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