A young Lebanese athlete withdrew his participation in the 2022 Youth International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF) World Championships in the United Arab Emirates to avoid facing an Israeli opponent, Lebanon’s Arabic-language television station Al-Manar reported.

Charbel Abou Daher pulled out of the competition in Abu Dhabi after a draw placed him against Israeli athlete Yonatan Mak in the Youth B 48-kilogram weight class category.

Nearly 500 athletes from 42 countries are competing this year across multiple divisions in the Youth IMMAF World Championships, which runs from August 17-20.

Daher’s withdrawal from the competition comes after Iraqi tennis players Nasr Mahdi and Mohammad Al-Mahdi withdrew from the 2022 Bucharest Open Wheelchair Tennis Tournament in Romania earlier in August after refusing to face two Israeli competitors, the Palestinian Wafa news agency reported.

In late July, Jordanian taekwondo fighter Maysir al-Dahamsheh pulled out of the World Taekwondo Cadet Championships in Bulgaria, after reaching the finals, to avoid facing an Israeli rival.

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