Egyptian Olympian refuses to shake hands with Israeli opponent after loss in judo

A match in the men’s 100kg judo tournament at the Rio Olympics ended an ugly note when an Egyptian judoka, who reportedly had doubts about even competing in the match, refused to acknowledge the loss or shake hands with his Israeli opponent.

The scene started to unfold when Islam El Shehaby of Egypt (in blue) took an extended amount of time getting up at the end of the match, leaving both his opponent, Israel’s Os Sasson, and the referee waiting.

It is customary at the end of judo matches to bow to your opponent and shake hands.

When Sasson was officially declared the winner, he tried multiple times to bow to El Shehaby, who refused each time.

Sasson then approached El Shehaby. Instead of greeting each other in the middle, Sasson had to walk well past the middle of the mat.

El Shehaby even started backing away.

The refusal appears to be politically motivated.

Prior to the match, El Shehaby reportedly contemplated not participating in the match over pressure from fans.

Israeli publication The Algemeiner wrote (via Deadspin):

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.”

According to the report, fans felt competing against an Israeli would “shame Islam.”

Sasson, looking flustered, eventually held his hand up as if to show that he was indeed offering his hand, before turning and walking away.

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