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Athletes boycotting Israelis at Olympics will be punished: Rogge
LONDON: Any athlete found to have deliberately boycotted competing against an Israeli opponent at the London Olympics will be punished, said International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge on Saturday.
The 70-year-old Belgian was reacting after Egyptian athletes were called upon — as have other Arab athletes — to avoid competing against Israelis at the Games which get underway next Friday.
“Definitely the reaction of the IOC would be the one that we are going to consider the practical situation,” said Rogge.
“If an athlete is genuinely injured or ill, then of course it is understandable.
“But we will examine every case very thoroughly and will examine every case with an independent medical team, and if the medical team does not ratify the decision of the first doctor, then the athlete will be punished.
“We have clearly told the NOC’s that refusal to compete against another athlete is totally forbidden.” At the 2004 Games in Athens, Iran’s world judo champion Arash Miresmaeil pulled out of a bout against Israeli fighter Ehud Vaks although he was later cleared of deliberately having boycotted the contest. -- AFP