Egypt: Judoka Islam El Shehaby Sent Home for Snubbing Israeli Opponent’s Handshake

The Egyptian judo athlete who caught world attention for snubbing handshake with his Israeli opponent after their contest in the Rio Olympics has been sent back home by his own team for the unfriendly behavior, the International Olympic Committee announced Monday.

“The Disciplinary Commission (DC) considered that his behavior at the end of the competition was contrary to the rules of fair play and against the spirit of friendship embodied in the Olympic Values,” the IOC said.

The DC issued a severe reprimand for inappropriate behavior to the athlete and asked the Egyptian Olympic Committee to ensure in future that all their athletes receive proper education on the Olympic Values before coming to the Olympic Games, the IOC said.

The Egyptian national committee reportedly reprimanded its athlete for his behaviour.

El Shehaby, on Friday caused controversy after refusing to shake hand with Or Sasson from Israel in their men +100kg category. Shehaby who lost the bout turned down the handshake even when the refree called him back to the mat for friendly handshake. He quickly nodded and paced up under public boos.

Shehaby noted that he did not break any rule in refusing to greet his opponent adding that he had nothing against Jewish people or any other religion.

“Shaking the hand of your opponent is not an obligation written in the judo rules. It happens between friends and he’s not my friend,” El Shehaby said after their bout.

“I have no problem with Jewish people or any other religion or different beliefs. But for personal reasons, you can’t ask me to shake the hand of anyone from this State, especially in front of the whole world,” he said.

Egypt signed a peace deal with Israel in 1979 but the accord is still unpopular among the Egyptian populations. Any public nodding with Israelis is viewed as a treason.

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