Lebanese Judo Champion was on his way to secure a medal for Lebanon at the #JudoParis 2019 tournament but was forced to lose his game to avoid confronting an Israeli athlete in the semis. Since Judo regulations don’t allow withdrawing from a game without a valid medical excuse, Elias had to lose his game in a way or another and drop his chances of winning a medal.

This is not the first time Lebanese athletes had to withdraw or lose to avoid confronting Israelis and won’t be the last. Honestly, I don’t understand the logic behind participating if we are bound by such rules. Imagine training for years to make your country proud, then having to withdraw because of that. I think the Lebanese federation & Ministry of Sports should make up its mind regarding this matter: Either we play everyone or we don’t take part in the tournament if there’s a chance of meeting an Israeli athlete. A third option would be agreeing with the international federation to avoid such draws if possible given the political circumstances.

If we ever want to succeed in world tournaments and advance in sports, we have to attend more international tournaments, hence risk competing against all nationalities.

Tough luck to Nacif!