The Latest: Algerian judoka refuses matchup with Israeli

TOKYO (AP) — The Latest on the Tokyo Olympics, which are taking place under heavy restrictions after a year’s delay because of the coronavirus pandemic:

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An Algerian judo athlete will be sent home from the Tokyo Olympics after he withdrew from the competition to avoid potentially facing an Israeli opponent.

Fethi Nourine and his coach, Amar Benikhlef, told Algerian media they were withdrawing to avoid a possible second-round matchup with Israel’s Tohar Butbul in the men’s 73 kg division on Monday. Nourine was to face Sudan’s Mohamed Abdalrasool in the opening round, with the winner facing Butbul, the fifth seed.

The International Judo Federation’s executive committee has temporarily suspended Nourine and Benikhlef, who are likely to face sanctions beyond the Olympics, which began Saturday. The Algerian Olympic committee then withdrew both men’s accreditation and made plans to send them home.

The IJF said Nourine’s position was “in total opposition to the philosophy of the International Judo Federation. The IJF has a strict non-discrimination policy, promoting solidarity as a key principle, reinforced by the values of judo.”

Nourine and Benikhlef attribute their stance to their political support for Palestinians.

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Two Georgian tennis players have been barred from the Tokyo Olympics after officials in their home country told them they were entered for the Games but never actually sent the paperwork.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport ruled that it had to turn away doubles players Oksana Kalashnikova and Ekaterine Gorgodze because they were never formally entered for the games, even though Georgia’s Olympic committee “informed the applicants that their application had been submitted.”

Without a formal entry for the Olympics, the court ruled that the “consequence, however unfortunate for the two athletes, can only be the dismissal of their petition.”

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Australia is without cyclist Rohan Dennis for the men’s Olympic road race, though it’s not because of a positive test for COVID-19.

Dennis chose to skip the race, which is taking place on a brutal course through searing heat that hardly suits his skillset, so that he can focus instead on next week’s time trial.

Dennis, who has won stages in each of the three Grand Tours, is also one of the best in the world in the race against the clock. He’s a two-time time trial world champion, helped Australia win team pursuit silver at the 2012 London Games and is a former world hour-record holder.

He was in medal contention at the Rio Games in the time trial, but he had a mechanical issue that required a bike change and took him out of the running.

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The entire Spanish cycling team has been cleared for the men’s road race hours before the start, ending a stressful period of limbo following a positive COVID-19 test involving a team masseuse.

Alejandro Valverde, Gorka Izagirre, Ion Izagirre, Omar Fraile and Jesus Herrada were considered close contacts of the masseuse, but all returned negative test results that allowed them to make the start at Musashinonomori Park on Saturday.

Spain has one of the strongest teams in the men’s road race, which will finish at Fuji International Speedway. Valverde, Fraile and Ion Izagirre in particular have skillsets that are perfectly suited for the mountainous course.

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The very first match of the Olympic beach volleyball tournament has been canceled because a Czech player tested positive for COVID-19.

Markéta Sluková tested positive earlier this week, knocking her and partner Barbora Hermannova out of the Tokyo Games.

The Czechs were supposed to be playing a team from the host country that would have been making its Olympic debut. Instead, the Japanese pair of Megumi Murakami and Miki Ishii earned the victory by default.

Sluková is one of at least three members of the Czech team who have tested positive since their arrival in Japan, including men’s beach volleyball player Ondřej Perušič.

The team has said it’s investigating if the outbreak of COVID-19 is linked to its charter flight to Tokyo.

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German cyclist Simon Geschke has been ruled out of the men’s road race after testing positive for the coronavirus.

The German team says Geschke initially tested positive Friday and his result was confirmed by another test later in the day.

Germany says fellow riders Nikias Arndt and Maximilian Schachmann are cleared to race Saturday. The fourth rider on the team, Emanuel Buchmann, was Geschke’s roommate and was waiting overnight on the result of another PCR test for the virus. Team staff tested negative.

Geschke was a stage winner on the Tour de France in 2015.

The German road race team is living in a hotel and not in the Olympic Village.

Geschke says he followed the hygiene rules at the Olympics. He adds that “I feel fine physically but emotionally it’s a really terrible day for me.”

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Categories: National News