Friday, July 27, 2012
Remember IOC President Jacques Rogge's warning that 'sanctions would be taken' against any Muslim nation refusing to compete against Israelis? I think we're about to see how true that was.
Just days after U.N. secretary-general Ban Ki-moon announced the traditional Olympic Truce – for people and nations to “set aside their differences” during London 2012 – news emerged that the one Iranian athlete likely to face an Israeli in competition has withdrawn with a “gut infection.”
Iranian Javad Mahjoub qualified in the same half-heavyweight judo category as an Israeli, Ariel Ze’evi, who participated in the last three Olympics, won the bronze medal in Athens 2004, and is the 2012 European champion. The half-heavyweight category competition is scheduled for August 2.
But Iranian Sports Medicine Federation head Lotfali Pour-Kazemi said this week Mahjoub’s condition required a 10-day antibiotic course and he would not be able to compete. An Iranian judo website quoted him as saying the judoka was experiencing “weakness, nausea and vomiting.”
During the Judo World Cup in Tashkent in 2011, Mahjoub was lined up in a head-to-head against another Israeli, Or Sasson, but refused to compete.
For his part, Ze’evi has been on the receiving end of an anti-Israel boycott before, when a Tunisian withdrew rather than taken him on during world judo championships in 2001. Ze’evi won silver.
Iranians withdrew from events pitting them against Israelis in the last two Olympic Games, in Athens 2004 (judo) and Beijing 2008 (swimming).
The Olympic Charter states, “Any form of discrimination with regard to a country or a person on grounds of race, religion, politics, gender or otherwise is incompatible with belonging to the Olympic Movement.”
Ah, the Olympic spirit! I can almost guarantee you that Iran will suffer about the same penalties for violating the Olympic Charter as they have for consistently violating the UN charter.