Saudi Olympic team confirms Judoka Tahani al-Qahtani to face Israeli athlete in Tokyo

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Saudi Arabia’s Olympic team has confirmed female judo athlete Tahani al-Qahtani will face her Israeli counterpart Raz Hershko on Friday in Tokyo in the 78 kg category in the round 32.

“Our Judo athlete Tahani Alqahtani is set to compete with her Israeli counterpart HERSHKO Raz at the Elimination Round of 32 of the Judo competition in Tokyo 2020,” the Saudi Olympic team tweeted Friday night, reminding viewers that the match would take place on Friday at 5:48 am local time in Saudi Arabia.

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Al-Qahtani, one of 33 athletes representing the Kingdom at the Tokyo Olympics this year, has received widespread support online ahead of her match up against Hershko on Friday. Al-Qahtani, one of two Saudi female Olympians currently in Tokyo, was drawn into the women's Judo event in the 78 kg category in the round 32.

The International Judo Federation last Saturday suspended Algerian judo athlete Fethi Nourine and his coach Amar Benikhlef for withdrawing from the Tokyo Olympics before his event started, after the draw set him on course for a match against an Israeli counterpart.

Earlier this week, thousands of tweets showed support for al-Qahtani, with the hashtags “Tahani al-Qahtani” and “We are all Tahani al-Qahtani”.

“Don't quit and face her. Withdrawal fake tournaments. Win or lose, you are a hero in our eyes. Good luck, the pride of the country,” Saudi twitter user Ghadah Alghunaim tweeted.

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