On October 28, 2019, Al-Manar TV (Lebanon) aired a report about Malek Al-Zibawai and Omar Yahya, two Lebanese karate athletes who won gold and bronze medals at the 33rd Kyokushin Karate Championship in Porto, Portugal and who refused to take the podium and accept their medals because there had been an Israeli competitor on the podium. Al-Zibawai said: “[I won’t] forget all the massacres [Israel] committed against Lebanon [and] Palestine.” Ali Fuwaz, the Chairman of the Lebanese Kyokushin Federation and the head of Lebanon’s championship delegation, said that the Lebanese delegation was taking a stand against normalizing relations with Israel. He said that they are raising the banner of freedom for Lebanon and Palestine and against the enemies of humanity, the murderers of children, and the criminals.
Reporter: Two Lebanese heroes delivered an athletic blow to the [Israeli] occupation entity in the 33rd Kyokushin Karate Championship. In the city of Porto, Portugal, the Lebanese athletes, Malek Al-Zibawai and Omar Yahya, took a stand of Arab resistance by refusing to take the podium and refusing to receive their gold and bronze medals because there was a Zionist competitor on the podium in the open weight category.
Malek Al-Zibawai: Praise by to Allah, [I won] first place at the World Championship. This is very important for Lebanon and for me, but that doesn’t mean that I will take the podium with a Zionist competitor and forget all the massacres [Israel] committed against Lebanon and our sister country, Palestine.
Reporter: The athletes emphasized their rejection of any sort of normalization and their commitment to the Lebanese sports federation, the regulations of the Lebanese Ministry for Sports and Youth, and the state of Lebanon.
Ali Fuwaz: From Vila do Conde, where the Portuguese Carnation Revolution began to bring freedom to the world, the Lebanese delegation made an important decision not to normalize relations with the Israeli entity and to raise the banner of freedom for the sake of the Lebanese people, the Palestinian cause, and all the free people all over the world, and against the enemies of humanity, the killers of children, and all the criminals.