Olympic Shooter Defends Israeli Pride in Face of Discrimination

Sergy Rikhter recently made headlines when he decided not to compete in the ISSF World Cup Rifle & Pistol event because the Indonesian hosts had asked him not to wear Israeli emblems. As one of four main competitions in 2023 and a qualifying event for the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris, this dealt a serious blow to Rikhter’s Olympic hopes.

Shooter Rikhter, an Olympian from Israel, has had a very successful career. He participated in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and earned a gold medal at the 2019 European Games. Rikhter has demonstrated how much he values representing Israel on a global platform by choosing to stand up for his country’s honor in the face of pressure from the Indonesian hosts.

Regrettably, this is not a unique instance; it demonstrates the continued existence of anti-Israeli prejudice in some regions of the world. Rikhter as well as all Israelis who wish to proudly represent their homeland overseas felt insulted by being prohibited from donning Israeli emblems at an international competition.

Thankfully, Sergy Rikhter has received a lot of support from well-known people around the globe for his choice to not compete if he couldn’t proudly represent Israel. The International Olympic Committee affirmed its support for Rikhter’s anti-discrimination position and emphasized that it would never tolerate any kind of prejudice against athletes or teams based on their country of origin or religion. Rikhter has received support from a number of sporting groups, including ISSF President Vladimir Lisin and US Shooting Team Coach Sergey Luzov.

It’s encouraging that so many athletes and organizations are speaking out against such blatant discrimination, but we must remember that there are still regions of the world where anti-Israel sentiment prevails. We can ensure that no athlete will ever again be denied the opportunity to proudly represent their nation on an international sporting platform by supporting individuals like Sergy Rikhter and his actions.