Egyptian Judo Star Refused To Shake Hands With Israeli At Olympics
Why even go to the Olympics, or even participate in the match, if you didn’t want to shake hands or bow, which is mandatory? They must not teach good sportsmanship in Egypt…
An Egyptian judo star refused to shake hands with his Israeli opponent after a controversial match at the Olympics, according to reports.
Islam El Shehaby left Or Sasson hanging — by backing away and shaking his head — when Sasson put out his hand Friday, CBS reported.
El Shehaby had lost in the final two minutes of the first round — and the handshake snub sparked loud booing, CBS reported.
His rebuff was a breach of judo etiquette, in which competitors typically bow or shake hands at the beginning and end of a match as a sign of respect.
The disrespectful gesture came after weeks of pressure on El Shehaby from Islamic extremists to pull out of the match with his Jewish opponent, according to reports.
On Thursday, Mataz Matar, an Islamist network TV host, demanded that El Shehaby withdraw.
“My son watch out, don’t be fooled, or fool yourself thinking you will play with the Israeli athlete to defeat him and make Egypt happy. Egypt will cry; Egypt will be sad and you will be seen as a traitor and a normalizer in the eyes of your people,” he said, according to CBS.
But international judo experts called the match a sign of progress.
“This is already a big improvement that Arabic countries accept to [fight]Israel,” International Judo Federation spokesman Nicolas Messner told CBS.
Olympic judo fighters are not obliged to shake hands, but bowing after a match is mandatory, Messner said, adding that El Shehaby ultimately bowed.
“His attitude will be reviewed after the games to see if any further action should be taken,” Messner said.
El Shehaby declined to comment on Friday.