Mauritanian chess player withdraws from Junior World Cup to avoid Israeli player – Middle East Monitor

A 14-year-old Mauritanian chess player withdrew from the Junior World Cup because the draw prepared him to face an Israeli player.

“I have decided to retire because I refuse to play with a representative of a fictitious country which in reality does not exist,” said Abdel Rahim Al-Talib Muhammad.

Talented player Abdul Rahim Al-Talib ranked 47th out of 215 players worldwide.

The Mauritanian National League hailed his decision and honored him upon his return.

“We salute our dear son Abdel Rahman Al-Talib Mohammed, this exceptional genius who honored our country and our people by declaring a boycott of the sinister Zionist face,” said Ghulam Al-Hajj, president of the league.

Israel is often accused of using its presence in international sporting and cultural events as a way to “cleanse sport” of its human rights violations. Other Arab athletes have taken public stances against normalizing relations under the guise of sports diplomacy.

READ: 7 Arabic-speaking states refuse to grant Israel observer status with the African Union

Last month, Algerian judoka Fethi Nourine withdrew from the men’s 73kg event at the Tokyo Olympics after finding out he would have to face Israeli fighter Tohar Butbul in the second round.

This is the second time the athlete has pulled out of his second-round fight against the Israeli fighter, the first being at the 2019 World Championships in Japan. At the time, he explained that it was to show his solidarity with the Palestinians.

After Nourine left the Olympics, the IJF withdrew its Olympic accreditation, declaring its

the actions were “in complete opposition to our philosophy”.

“We have worked hard to reach the Olympics…but the Palestinian cause is more important than all that,”

Nourine said, declaring her decision as “final”.

Nourine being absent from the matches, the Sudanese Mohamed Abdalrasool, automatically qualified to face Butbul, also forfeited.

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