Sudanese judoka to «AlTaghyeer»: Would have still forfeit Israeli match-up if declared fit

Mohamed Abdel-Rasoul, the Sudanese judoka who made headlines for being the second Olympian to forfeit a match-up at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics against Israeli judoka Tohar Butbul, revealed to AlTaghyeer that he would have still chosen to forfeit his bout with the Israeli judoka had he been declared fit to compete.

The Sudanese Olympian also spoke of the benefits gained from competing in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and reception he got when he arrived back to Sudan.

Abdallah Brer: AlTaghyeer

*For starters, tell us about your Olympic experience in general, how would you rate it?

It was a great journey, I benefited, and we [Sudanese Olympians] saw champions and gained firsthand knowledge of world-renowned training methods. All in all, we had maximum benefit.

Sudan’s participation in the opening ceremony with the traditional Sudanese costume found support and opposition. Any comments?

At the opening ceremony, every country would usually dress its athletes in its national costume. The athletic garb is most certainly not our national costume and therefore we chose the traditional costumes.

Sudan’s representatives at the 2020 Olympics in traditional Sudanese dress

How did the crowd receive to the traditional Sudanese outfits?

Everyone really admired our costume and they took pictures with us and asked us about it. We were able to display a part of our culture and identity by donning the Sudanese jalabiya and headdress.

Were the championships at Senegal and Morocco a real preparation for the Tokyo games?

At the African games in Morocco we [Sudanese representatives] were 3 and I did well enough to allow me to qualify to the Tokyo games, and in the Dakar games in Senegal I also ranked high enough to be able to qualify to the Tokyo games. The African games helped prepare us for the Tokyo Olympics.

What are the details behind your withdrawal against your Israeli opponent at the Olympics? Was your injury the real reason?

It is true that I was injured, but even if I had not been I would have still forfeit the match-up with the Israeli opponent, which is the least that I could do for the Palestinian cause.

You had quite the reception at the Khartoum International Airport. Could you describe it for us?

The reception at the Khartoum airport was awe-inducing, and the Sudanese public really did their best, be it family, friends, acquaintances, citizens, and the staff at the airport, and celebrated us in a grand manner.

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