Judo competitions cancelled in UAE and Tunisia for failing to provide equal treatment for athletes
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Judo competitions cancelled in UAE and Tunisia for failing to provide equal treatment for athletes

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Tal Flicker at the Judo World Championship in Budapest, Aug. 28, 2017. (Rok Rakun/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)

(JTA) — The International Judo Federation has cancelled two international tournaments in the United Arab Emirates and Tunisia for failing to guarantee equal treatment of all athletes.

“The International Judo Federation’s Executive Committee decided to suspend both the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam and the Tunis Grand Prix until governmental guarantee is given to ensure free and equal participation of all nations at the said events,” a statement posted Friday on the federation’s website announced.

The Federation did not mention Israel specifically but the statement referred to “past situations involving the denial of participation in equal conditions of all IJF member federations – with their national insignia and anthem at the aforementioned events,” a clear reference to Israeli athletes.

In 2017, a total of five Israeli judokas won medals in Abu Dhabai but tournament organizers refused to play Israel’s national anthem. The Israeli competitors also were required to wear the uniform of the International Judo Federation and received their medals under an IJF flag.

The federation said in Friday’s statement that it “is aware that the situation and incidents registered are due to a complex and complicated political and historical context, but we strongly believe that politics should not have any interference in sports and that sports should be a reflection of human respect, understanding and mutual cooperation and that sports, as one of the highest expressions of humanity, should have the power to overcome any other conflict or interest.”