Israeli judokas to participate in UAE tournament under their own flag


(JTA) — Israeli athletes will participate in an international judo competition in the United Arab Emirates under the Israeli flag and with its national anthem played at medal ceremonies.

The announcement was made earlier this month by the International Judo Federation.

In July, the federation, known as the IJF, canceled two international tournaments, 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.”

In 2017, 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 UAE event in the capital of Abu Dhabi was reinstated after the UAE Judo Federation confirmed in an official letter sent to the IJF that all nations participating in the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam will do so under equal conditions.

The historic decision will thus allow all nations to display their national insignia and national anthem, including Israel,” the IJF statement said.

“The International Judo Federation salutes the efforts of the UAE Judo Federation as well as the fair-play and mutual friendship and respect shown by the UAE authorities, which represent a huge step forward in establishing and promoting peaceful relationships between all nations of the world,” the statement also said, adding that “IJF remains committed to the fight against any discrimination in sport and to using sport as a tool for reconciliation and promotion of peace and moral values in the world, inspiring the new generations.”

The Abu Dhabi Grand Slam 2018 will take place Oct. 27-29.

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