Egyptian judoka Islam El Shehaby has been sent home from the Olympics after he refused to shake the hand of Israeli opponent Or Sasson after their bout.
On August 12, Israeli judoka Or Sasson defeated El Shehaby in a men’s 100-kilogram match. It is customary for the the judokas to bow toward one another following the conclusion of a match, but El Shehaby instead lingered on the mat and refused to get up.
When El Shehaby finally did get up, Sasson tried three times to bow to him. El Shehaby refused to reciprocate on each occasion. Then, Sasson approached El Shehaby and extended his hand, to which El Shehaby backed away. The crowd looking on booed.
El Shehaby’s gesture was reportedly politically motivated:
Israeli publication The Algemeiner wrote:
“El Shehaby, who is known for his extreme anti-Israel views, told Egyptian media outlets that he would make his decision closer to the fight. ‘The situation is very sensitive,’ he said. ‘And I don’t want to discuss it.'”
Sasson went on to win bronze in the men’s 100-kilogram judo class.
The 34-year-old was “strongly reprimanded” by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) after his first-round loss on Friday. The IOC say his conduct was “against the spirit of friendship embodied in the Olympic values”.
The Egyptian Olympic Committee condemned El Shehaby and sent him home.
Sasson later revealed his coaches had warned him El Shehaby might refuse to shake his hand. The Egyptian had come under pressure from some conservative voices in his homeland to withdraw from the bout.
This was disgraceful behaviour and they should ban Egypt from any further sporting involvement in the Olympics and World Cup until they guarantee nothing like this will happen again. Personally I would have sent all the Egyptian olympic team home rather than just the individual. What is worse is that the Egyptian olympic officials must have known about their athletes views before the competition, so why did they pick him? I am sure that the Israeli athlete found it difficult to bow and extend the hand but at least he followed the “protocols” of the sport……………what is it about the followers of Islam that they think the world revolves around them?