Deprived of National Anthem & Flag, Israel brings in 2 more medals in Abu Dhabi

Raising number to five medals at Abu Dhabi Grand Slam, Or Sasson and Peter Paltchik win bronze medals in the over 100 kg &  under 100 kg men’s, respectively.

By i24NEWS


Israel racked up two bronze medals on Saturday in this year’s Abu Dhabi Grand Slam competition, bringing its total number of medals in the tournament to five.

Egyptian judoka Islam el-Shehaby refuses to shake hand of Israeli, Or Sasson after win at the Rio 2016 Olympics – Screenshot: YouTube

Israeli Olympian Or Sasson won the bronze medal for men over 100 kilograms after beating Belgium’s Benjamin Harmegnies. In the men’s under 100 kilograms group, Israel’s Peter Paltchik won the bronze after defeating Hungary’s Miklós Cirjenics.


Like their other Israeli competitors, Sasson and Paltchik were not allowed to wear the Israeli flag on their uniforms, nor was the Israeli flag flown at their respective medal awards ceremonies.

Another Bronze medal winner for Israel, Tohar Butbul, who competed in the men’s 66-73 kilograms group, attempted to shake hands with the United Arab Emirates’ Rashad Almashjari but was rejected. Butbul had defeated Almashjari on Friday in the first round.

The other two Israeli medal winners in the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam include Gili Cohen, who received the bronze in the women’s under 52 kilograms group as well as Tal Flicker, the gold medalist in the men’s under 66 kilograms group.

Tal Flicker sings Hatikvah when presented gold medal at Judo Abu Dhabi 2017 – Twitter

At Flicker’s award ceremony, the International Judo Federation’s (IJF) anthem was played and the IJF’s flag was raised in the center in place of the Israeli flag. Nevertheless, Flicker appeared to began singing “Hatikva” as the IJF anthem started to play.


Request to treat Israeli athletes equally denied

The United Arab Emirates, which has no diplomatic relations with the Jewish state, rejected calls from the IJF that “all delegations, including the Israeli delegation…be treated absolutely equally in all aspects, without any exception.”

The letter also says that the IJF statutes “clearly provide that the IJF shall not discriminate on the ground of race, religion, gender or political opinion.”

Only on Saturday was an apology from the UAE conveyed by IJF President Marius Vizer, for the discriminatory treatment of Israeli judo competitors at the 2017 Abu Dhabi Grand Slam.

“U.A.E Judo Federation President, His Excellency Mohammad Bin Thaloub AL DAREI, and Mr. Aref AL-AWANI, General Secretary of Abu Dhabi Sports Council (ADSC), apologised because of the U.A.E athletes not shaking hands with the Israel athletes and also congratulated the Israel team for their success here,” said President Vizer.

“In the last years the IJF has made a lot of work and important steps for the participation and recognition of the Israeli team in countries like Morocco and Emirates and I hope soon we can break down more barriers for more tolerance between countries and nations to express the real value of the sport, friendship unity and solidarity.”


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