Israel’s delegation to the Judo Grand Slam in Abu Dhabi of the United Arab Emirates returned home on Monday and deflected the criticism regarding the decision to compete in the event even though the athletes weren’t allowed to do so under the Israel flag.
Israel’s judokas didn’t have the Israel flag on their judo uniform as they do in every other event across the world and instead of having ISR (Israel) by their names on the scoreboard and on their backs, they took part in the contest as representatives of the IJF (International Judo Federation).
Israel Judo Federation chairman Moshe Ponte claimed he was forced to accept the request made by the organizers due to security concerns and insisted he would act in the same manner should he be put in a similar situation again.
“We left for Abu Dhabi with many question marks and doubts and we return with a lot of hope,” Ponte said upon the delegation’s return on Monday. “We really benefited from our time in Abu Dhabi. We represent Israel across the world and bring Israel a lot of honor. I just received a call from the Sports Minister and she said she supports everything I did.”