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Lebanese judo team refuses to practice next to Israelis at Olympics training facility

JTA

July 27, 2012 | 12:01 pm

Olympic logo at the Tower Bridge in London on July 27. Photo by REUTERS/Paul Hackett

Olympic logo at the Tower Bridge in London on July 27. Photo by REUTERS/Paul Hackett

The Lebanese judo team at the 2012 London Olympics refused to practice next to the Israeli team.

The Jordanians even erected a makeshift barrier to split their gym into two halves, according to the Times of Israel.

The two teams were scheduled to train inside London’s ExCel center, but the delegation from Lebanon would not train in view of the Israeli team and insisted a barrier be placed between them, the report said.

The two teams were scheduled to use the same gym and mats at London’s new ExCeL center for their final preparations, but International Olympic Committee officials were forced to erect a special screen following demands by the Lebanese’s coach to separate the teams, according to the Times of Israel, citing several Hebrew websites.

Also, last week Iranian judo athlete Javad Mahjoob withdrew from the games citing “critical digestive system infection,” according to the Washington Post.

The Post reported that has led to speculation that Iran was maintaining a long-standing policy of not allowing its athletes to compete against Israelis.

International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge, according to the Post, has said, “If Nation A does not appear at the competition against Nation B, we will ask for explanations. If the explanation is not satisfactory and valid at the end of it and is not credible, then we will go into cross-examination by an independent medical board. And if the medical board says it is not a genuine reason, then sanctions will be taken.”

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