The International Judo Federation’s World Judo Tour brought international athletes in Africa for the first time, with Morocco as host country.
Rabat – The 2019 Marrakech Judo Grand Prix kicked off yesterday with the participation of ten Israeli athletes. The opening day registered noriots against Israeli symbols as was the case during last year’s session in the UAE.
The event whose first day fell on Women’s Day will last until Sunday, March 10.
The International Judo Federation (IJF) acknowledged Morocco’s “vast amount of experience in hosting elite level judo events,” giving the example of its hosting of a World Openweight Championships and a World Judo Masters in Rabat, in addition to a Grand Prix last year in Agadir.
In Marrakech, the event has so far not faced any issues with the participation of Israeli athletes.
However, Morocco has reportedly asked Israeli participants to not wave their flags to avoid any issues.
The IJF imposes sanctions on hosting countries that do not abide by the sports regulations, including equal treatment. The body has a history of punishing discrimination against participants.
Last year, the IJF stripped the United Arab Emirates and Tunisia of rights to host two international tournaments after they failed to guarantee equal treatment for Israeli athletes.
Though the IJF did not explicitly mention Israel, it requested the two countries in July to “provide a letter of guarantee signed by the government that all IJF member nations would have the right to participate in their events on equal conditions.”
As both countries support the Palestinian cause, they refused to display the Israeli symbols and did not comply with the condition.
At the time, the federation suspended the competitions, Abu Dhabi Grand Slam and the Tunis Grand Prix, because the countries had passed the deadline for sending the letter.
Over the next days in Marrakech, the tournament will see in action Olympic champion Beslan Mudranov (Russia), Olympic bronze medallist Automne Pavia (France), double Olympic bronze medallist Leandro Guilheiro (Brazil), Olympic bronze medallist Antoine Valois-Fortier (Canada) and Olympic bronze medallist Laura Vargas Koch (Germany).