The Israel Judo Association has told Jewish News why their athletes will be competing at a Grand Prix event in Abu Dhabi next month – despite them not being allowed to fight with the national flag on their uniform
Israel will be sending over a delegation of 12 athletes to the tournament, which is being staged between 26-28 October. However, despite being told by organisers that their athletes won’t be allowed to have their flag on their uniform, ISR wouldn’t appear on the scoreboard – but be replaced by IJF (International Judo Federation) and that the Hatikvah wouldn’t be played in the hall should Israel win a gold medal, the Israeli Judo Association (IJA) has explained why they will still be sending over their athletes to the Gulf state.
Gil Lebanony, spokesman for the IJA told Jewish News: “We believe sport and politics shouldn’t mix – sport should unite people. There are people out there who want to harm us and our efforts to go to the 2020 Olympics, we want our athletes to reach Tokyo and in order to do this, they need to compete in this tournament and others.”
Confirming that the IJA will be meeting representatives of the IJF on Thursday, as to whether he was confident Israeli judokas would be able to compete under Israel’s name, he added: “I’m only confident the sun will shine in the morning.”