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11 Israelis take part in UAE judo competition

Players taking part in the competition that was temporarily suspended last year over a ban on Israeli symbols.

Eleven Israeli players are taking part in a judo competition in the United Arab Emirates after the tournament was temporarily suspended last year over a ban on Israeli symbols during the medal-awarding ceremony.

The Abu Dhabi Judo Grand-Slam, which started on Saturday and runs for three days, includes athletes from 62 countries. Israel is represented by six male and five female competitors.

The International Judo Federation suspended the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam from its schedule, but it was reinstated in September after its UAE organisers promised equal treatment to Israeli athletes.

Last year, the UAE organisers had singled Israel out with a ban on displaying its flag or playing its anthem during the tournament when one of its athletes was awarded a medal.

At the Abu Dhabi event last year, Israeli athletes competed under the IJF flag because the UAE does not recognise of Israel as a state.

The UAE, like many Arab countries, does not have diplomatic and economic relations with Israel. But there have been signs of normalisation of ties, especially on the sporting field.

In May, Israel hosted the cycling teams of UAE and Bahrain at the 101st Giro d'Italia cycling competition in Jerusalem.

Recent US media reports have also revealed security cooperation between Israel and the UAE.

UAE leaders have allegedly used Israeli spyware to spy on Gulf leaders, including the Qatari emir.

The steps of informal normalisation between Israel and UAE come as artists and sport teams refuse to participate in activities held in Israel in protest against its occupation of the Palestinian territories.

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