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Palestinian kickboxer refuses to compete against Israeli at World Youth Championship

Aug. 9, 2017 12:59 P.M. (Updated: Aug. 9, 2017 3:14 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- A Palestinian kickboxer reportedly refused to compete against an Israeli opponent during the World Youth Championship in Thailand.

The head of the Palestinian Association of Kickboxing and Muay Thai, Muhammad Ahmad Zeidani, told Ma’an on Tuesday that Sultan Abu al-Hajj, a resident of the Ramallah district of the occupied West Bank, was one of five athletes from the Palestinian delegation attending the championship.

Abu al-Hajj was set to spar against an Israeli opponent in the final rounds of the competition, but refused to do so, “as there has not yet been an official Palestinian decision over whether to face Israeli athletes in any sporting event.”

Israeli news outlet Ynet reported on Wednesday that the Israeli kickboxer, Amit Madah, won a bronze medal after Abu al-Hajj forfeited.

Many Palestinians have come out in opposition of “normalization” with Israelis, saying that agreeing to participate in events alongside Israelis -- whether cultural or athletic -- contributed to minimizing the harm caused by decades of Israeli violations of human rights in the occupied Palestinian territory.
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