An apparent compromise has been reached between the International Judo Federation and the heads of the United Arab Emirates to reinstate the judo Grand Slam event scheduled for October in Abu Dhabi.
Last month, the IJF suspended the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam and the Tunis Grand Prix from its competition calendar, saying it wants to take a “firm and constructive stance in the fight against discrimination in sport.”
Last year, the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam was criticized for refusing to display Israel’s flag for the blue-and-white athletes and for refraining from playing the Israeli national anthem when Israeli Tal Flicker took the gold medal in the under-66 kilogram category.
At the time, the organizers claimed that due to security reasons, the Israelis could not have their flag on their judo uniforms. Additionally, the Israelis had to participate as representatives of the IJF instead of having ISR by their names on the scoreboard and on their uniforms. They also asserted that should an Israeli win a gold medal, “Hatikvah” would not be played, also for security reasons. When Flicker received his medal, the IJF played its own anthem in place of Israel’s. Nevertheless, Flicker was seen singing “Hatikvah” from atop the podium.
The United Arab Emirates has no diplomatic ties with Israel and, like most other Arab countries, doesn’t recognize Israel as a sovereign nation. As of this weekend, it seems that the Abu Dhabi competition will be returned to the Arab state under the conditions that the Israeli flag will be present in every official place and “Hatikvah” will be played if an Israeli athlete wins a gold medal.