Two Iraqi wheelchair tennis players have withdrawn from the Romanian Paralympic Tennis Championships, for refusing to confront a player from Israel, Iraqi News Agency (INA) reported.
Nasr Mahdi and Mohammad Al-Mahdi refused to face the Israeli player during the Bucharest Open Wheelchair Tennis Tournament 2022
Wheelchair tennis is played in the same way as able-bodied tennis, with the only exception that a wheelchair tennis player is allowed to bounce the ball twice.
This comes two months after the Iraqi parliament voted unanimously on its first law in the fifth parliamentary session, entitled “Criminalizing normalization and establishing relations with the Zionist entity.”
This legislation aims to cut the way for those who want to establish any kind of relations with Israel, and to set deterrent penalties up to the death penalty.
In August, 24-year-old Algerian football player Ahmed Touba refused to accompany his team, İstanbul Basaksehir, on a trip to the occupied territories to face Israel’s Maccabi Netanya FC.
On Sunday, July 31, 13-year-oldJordanian taekwondo player Maysir Al-Dahamsheh withdrew from a semi-final match at the Cadet and Junior World Championships 2022, in Bulgaria refusing to confront a player from Israel.
In July 2022, the Jordanian Al-Wehdat sports club withdrew from Al Ain International Volleyball Championship following Israel’s participation.
In May 2022, Kuwaiti player Kholoud Al-Mutairi decided, on Sunday, to withdraw from Thailand International Championship, in the category of fencing, for refusing to confront a player from Israel.
On May 3, Kuwaiti chess champion Bader Al-Hajri withdrew from the competitions of the Sunway International Chess Championship held in Spain during the current period, after he was drawn against one of the players of the Israeli occupation state.
On April 4, 19-year-old Kuwaiti fencing player, Mohammad Al-Fadhli withdrew from the World Fencing Championships held in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), refusing to face an Israeli opponent.
On March 7, Kuwaiti watersports player Abdul Razzaq al-Baghli pulled out of the Emirates International Motosurf Championship in Abu Dhabi after refusing to compete against an Israeli competitor.
In January 2022, a Kuwaiti cultural delegation boycotted the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature due to the participation of an Israeli writer.
In late January, Tennis player Mohammed Al-Awadi also withdrew from the semi-final match of the International Under 14 Championship, in Dubai, after learning that he had to face the Israeli player in the fourth round match.
These recent positions are an extension of a long series of the Arab sports boycott of Israel, which was inaugurated in 1991 by the Algerian judo champion, Meziane Dahmani, when he refused to meet an Israeli player in the World Championships in Barcelona.
Like these heroes, athletes from Sudan, Egypt, Lebanon, Tunisia, Yemen, Syria, Morocco, and other Arab countries preferred to withdraw over players representing the Israeli occupation.