BAGHDAD, Friday, August 12, 2022 (WAFA) – Iraqi tennis stars Nasr Mahdi and Mohammad Al-Mahdi have withdraw from the Bucharest Open Wheelchair Tennis Tournament 2022 for refusing to face an Israeli opponent, the President of the Iraqi Tennis Federation, Majid Al-Ugaili, announced yesterday.
Al-Ugaili said in a statement that the prescheduled matches of the championship had set the Iraqi team in the face of the Israeli occupation’s team, saying the match was supposed to take place at the beginning of the championship competitions which will continue until August 18.
The Israeli occupation is often accused of using its presence in international sports and cultural events as a means of "sports-washing" its human rights violations. Other Arab athletes have taken public stances against the normalization of the relations under the guise of diplomacy in sportsmanship.
In January this year, Muhammad Al-Awadi, a 14-year-old Kuwaiti tennis player, withdrew from an international tennis tournament held in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to avoid playing against an Israeli opponent.
Last year, Mauritanian chess player Abdel Rahim Al-Talib Muhammad pulled out of the Junior World Cup after he was set to face an Israeli player.