An Iranian karate fighter has refused to compete against his Israeli opponent, citing his support for the ‘defenceless Palestinian nation’.

Majid Hassaninia failed to show up for his fight against Yonathan Baruch Giller in the –U60kg competition at the 21st edition of the Open de Paris – the equivalent of the Karate Premier League.

Expelled from the event as a result of his no-show, he said: “Even though I had personally paid all the fees for my participation in the contests and wished to assess my preparedness in the designated weight division, what is of paramount importance to every Iranian athlete is his/her beliefs plus support for the defenseless Palestinian nation. I will do my best in future competitions, God willing!”