Jul 23, 2021

Saudi Arabian judoka Joud Fahmy forfeited her first-round judo match in the Rio Summer Olympics on Sunday, apparently to avoid facing her Israeli counterpart Gili Cohen in the next round.

Joud Fahmy

Joud Fahmy

Fahmy was scheduled to go up against Christianne Legentil from Mauritius, but she forfeited. While the Saudi Olympic team said in a tweet that Fahmy had suffered injuries to her arm and leg during training, Israel’s Channel 2 reported that she was not hurt, but chose to drop out rather than compete against Cohen.

This is the second incidence of Olympic delegations from Arab states discriminating against Israeli athletes at the Rio Games. On Friday, the Lebanese Olympic delegation caused a scene when it refused to allow the Israeli contingent onto a shared bus to the opening ceremonies.

The head of the Lebanese delegation blocked the door to the bus with his body rather than permit the Israelis to board. Olympic organizers gave in to the Lebanese athletes’ tantrum and quickly arranged alternative transportation for the Israeli competitors.

The International Olympic Committee on Sunday rebuked the Lebanese delegation for its actions after holding a hearing on the matter, warning Lebanese team leader Salim al-Haj Nakoula that the Committee would not tolerate further such incidents.