A Kuwaiti athlete, Mohamed al-Fadli, refused to participate in the World Fencing Championships, which is currently taking place in Dubai, to avoid sparring with an Israeli athlete, Al Jazeera Arabic and other Middle Eastern media reported.
The Kuwaiti government and Kuwaiti civil society are among the strongest opponents of Arab normalization with Israel. This is not the first time that Kuwaiti athletes pull out from Arab and international sports events that host Israeli athletes.
Staat van Beleg@StaatVanBeleg Kuwaiti player Mohamed al-Fadli withdrew on Sunday from the world fencing championship held in Dubai after he refused to play with an Israeli contestant.
Al-Fadli himself has pulled out from a similar championship in the Netherlands in 2019, also because of Israeli participation. The young athlete’s stances in solidarity with the Palestinian people have been celebrated by Kuwaiti societies and thousands of Palestinian and other activists on social media.
The boycott platform ‘Muqata’ – which also means boycott – tweeted: “Mohammed Al-Fadli (..) a new Arab Kuwaiti champion that slaps the face of sports normalization and pulls out from the Dubai World Championships refusing to play against an Israeli occupation athlete.
The Palestine Chronicle@PalestineChron Rejecting #Normalization, Young #Kuwaiti#Tennis Player Refuses to Face #Israeli Opponent https://palestinechronicle.com/rejecting-normalization-young-kuwaiti-tennis-player-refuses-to-face-israeli-opponent/… via @PalestineChron
Another social media account, known as “I am an Arab against Normalization”, wrote, “Here is a Kuwaiti champion, Mohammed al-Fadli, taking another honorable stance” for Palestine.
This is the third time that a Kuwaiti athlete pulls out from a sports event in protest of Arab sports normalization in the United Arab Emirates since the start of 2022. The other two are Abdulrazaq al-Baghli and Muhammad Al-Awadi.