Story at a glance:
- Israel’s Tohar Butbul was supposed to be facing Sudan's Mohamed Abdalrasool and Algeria's Fethi Nourine before they dropped out.
- The International Olympic Committee is investigating the incidents, which may violate its rules.
- Nourine told a TV station his decision was political.
A Muslim judo competitor dropped out of the Olympics before facing his opponent, an Israeli Jewish man, prompting the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to step in and investigate the possibility of punishing athletes it deems to be violating the rules based on politics, ESPN reported.
The IOC director of Olympic Solidarity James Macleod stated, "The IOC is always concerned in these cases and is monitoring it very closely. If there are flagrant abuses of the Olympic Charter, the IOC will take all necessary measures in that respect."
"We will investigate anything that is raised to us, and work with the NOC/IFs on a case-by-case basis. The IOC has been very clear that non-discrimination and autonomy are things we will not flinch from," he added.
Tohar Butbul, an Israeli judo competitor, had two challengers drop out by Monday, one of which was Sudan's Mohamed Abdalrasool who didn't show up for the match but was present for the weigh-in.
Prior to this match, Algeria's Fethi Nourine withdrew because he wanted to avoid a potential round of 32 matchup against Butbul. He was sent home and suspended from the International Judo Federation (IJF).
Neither the IJF nor the Sudanese Olympic officials commented on the situation. But Nourine, who was supposed to be challenging Abdalrasool to advance his chances meeting up with Butbul, confirmed to Echorouk TV his motivation for leaving was political.
READ MORE STORIES FROM CHANGING AMERICA