Egyptian Olympian sent home from Rio after refusing to shake Israeli competitor's hand

Egyptian judoka Islam El Shehaby has reportedly been sent home from the Rio Olympics as punishment for refusing to shake his Israeli opponent’s hand after a match last week, the AP reports.

On August 12, Israeli judoka Or Sassoon defeated El Shehaby in a men’s 100kg 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 mats and refused to get up.

When El Shehaby finally did get up, Sassoon tried three times to bow to him. El Shehaby refused to reciprocate on each occasion. Then, Sassoon 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.'”

Sassoon went on to win bronze in the men’s 100kg judo class.

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