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November 11, 2021 2:13 pm

Jiu-Jitsu Competitor Crouches Down During Israel’s ‘Hatikvah’ Anthem After Losing to Israeli Opponent


avatar by Shiryn Ghermezian

Abulkhaiyr Alibek, right, squatting down while “Hatikvah” plays after Israeli athlete Amit Burshtein, center, is given a gold medal. Photo: Screenshot.

Israeli athlete Amit Burshtein won gold at the 2021 Jiu-Jitsu World Championships in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday, but his medal ceremony was overshadowed by his competitor’s apparent refusal to stand during the Israeli national anthem.

As “Hatikvah” played in the arena after Burshtein, 17, was given the gold medal in the male, under-18 60-kilo category, his opponent from Kazakhstan — Abulkhaiyr Alibek, who took home the bronze medal — squatted down on the podium. Fellow Kazakh competitor Dias Anvar, who took home silver, remained standing, as seen in a video of the incident that Burshtein shared on Instagram.


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A post shared by Amit Burshtein (@amitburshteinjj)

The Jiu-Jitsu Association operates in Israel under Ayelet – the Federation of Non Olympic Sport in Israel.

Arik Kaplan, president and CEO of the federation, said, “We are proud of our athletes who represent Israel in the best way and bring us a lot of respect. We were surprised to see the video and immediately asked our representatives in Abu Dhabi to check the issue, in the hope that this is not a protest action against the anthem.”

Burshtein’s younger brother, Guy Burshtein, 14, won a bronze medal at the tournament, which took place Nov. 3-11.

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