Judo - Suzuki World Judo Championships - Men under 66kg - Bronze Medal Match - Laszlo Papp Arena, Budapest, Hungary - 29/08/2017 - Tal Flicker of Israel fights with Georgii Zantaraia of Ukraine. REUTERS/Laszlo Balogh - RC1865E6D970

A champion Israeli judo fighter was forced to sing his own national anthem beneath an International Judo Federation (IJF) flag during an awards ceremony Thursday because of a ban on Israeli symbols at the sport’s Grand Slam competition in Abu Dhabi.
Tal Flicker, who won gold in the men’s under-145lbs category, had to sing his own private version of the ‘Hatikvah,’ Israel’s national anthem, because tournament organizers in the Gulf nation had refused to play it.
The censored award ceremony in which the flags of the Russian Federation, Azerbaijan and Georgia were hoisted did not come as a surprise to the Israeli team. The country’s delegation to the IJF had been told prior to the tournament that there would be no acknowledgement of their nation, no flags and no anthems, the Associated Press reported.
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