Published: Sun, August 14, 2016
Economy | By Melissa Porter

Egyptian judoka refuses to shake Israeli opponent's hand

Rio de Janeiro: Egypt's Islam El Shehaby on Friday created a controversy at the Rio Olympics after he refused to shake hands with his Israeli opponent Or Sasson post their judo match. But what happened next garnered loud boos from a crowd of Olympic spectators in Rio.

In an overt display of poor sportsmanship, El Shehaby refused Sasson's gesture.

"Egypt will cry; Egypt will be sad and you will be seen as a traitor and a normalizer in the eyes of your people".

Afterwards, El Shehaby lay flat on his back for a moment before standing to take his place before Sasson, in front of the referee. The ultraconservative Salafi Muslim fighter gave a quick nod before exiting.

Sasson defeated El Shehaby with two throws for an automatic victory, with about a minute and a half remaining in the bout.

Sasson, 25, advanced to the semifinals, where he lost to eventual champion Teddy Riner of France.

Female Judoka star Yarden Gerbi became the toast of Israel by claiming the country's first Olympic medal in eight years when she took a bronze in the women's under-63kg competition on Tuesday.

"As I said, it's in no way an excuse, but sometimes, for many reasons, athletes are unable to bring themselves to shake hands at the end and it's a shame". "This was his decision".

Shehaby did not want to comment on his behaviour afterwards. "But I can not say anything".

According to the International Judo Federation, the sport's governing body, etiquette is essential for any judo player, or judoka. He said there was no obligation to shake hands, but to bow is mandatory. "I knew there was a chance he would not shake my hand", said Sasson, who was fighting El Shehaby for the first time.

He said he had wanted to shake hands, as is the norm, because "I was educated to respect my opponents, no matter who they are..."

An IOC official said the organisation's president, Thomas Bach, ordered the disciplinary commission as soon as he heard about the incident.

El Shehaby chose to compete anyway, but he couldn't bring himself to engage in basic sporting etiquette afterward.

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