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JERUSALEM (Kyodo) Japanese men’s judo Olympic gold medalists Yasuhiro Yamashita and Kosei Inoue taught the martial art to some 50 Israeli and Palestinian children at a dojo in Jerusalem.

Speaking in front of about 30 Israeli and 20 Palestinian children, Yamashita, a gold medalist at the 1984 Los Angeles Games, said, “I think it is meaningful that Israeli and Palestinian children are grappling together to do judo.”

The event was held as part of activities by the Solidarity of International Judo Education. Yamashita heads the Japan-based nonprofit organization aimed at spreading judo internationally.

Yamashita told the children about the time that Egyptian judoka Mohamed Ali Rashwan did not target Yamashita’s injured right leg in the final of the men’s judo open weight class at the Los Angeles Olympics.

“Judo is a sport that develops an attitude of respect for other people,” Yamashita said. “I’d like you to make a point of respecting those around you even after returning home from the dojo.”

Inoue, the gold medalist in the under-100 kg class at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney and who is now studying in Britain, taught his classes in English.

A 13-year old Palestinian boy, who took part in the practice wearing a borrowed judo jacket and a pair of shorts, said: “(Mr. Inoue) was very strong. I want to participate in the Olympics as a Palestine representative in the future.”

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