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UAE official apologises to Israel for not playing anthem at judo event

People prepare for the Abu Dhabi Judo Grand Slam tournament [Fitness Fest Dubai/Facebook]

The President of the UAE Judo Federation has apologised to his Israeli counterpart after the organisers refused to play the Israeli national anthem at the Abu Dhabi Judo Grand Slam tournament last week.

According to the media in Israel, Mohammed Bin Thaloub Al-Derai and the General Secretary of Abu Dhabi Sports Council, Aref Al-Awani, made the apology to the head of the Israeli Judo Association, Moshe Ponte. As well as the anthem issue, they apologised for the fact that a UAE athlete refused to shake hands with Israeli competitors at the tournament.

The anthem was omitted when, on Thursday, Israeli Tal Flicker won the gold medal in the men’s under-66 kilograms category and Gili Cohen won the bronze medal in the women’s under-52 kilogram group. Neither the Israeli flag nor the national anthem were used during the respective medal presentation ceremonies. The Jerusalem Post said that the organising committee attributed the omissions to “security reasons”.

A spokesman for the Israeli Ministry of Culture and Sports said earlier that 12 Israelis were participating in the Abu Dhabi tournament.

Read: Israel and UAE are normalising relations

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