Rio 2016: Egyptian Judoka Sent  Home

Islam El Shehaby and Ehud Vaks

Islam El Shehaby and Ehud Vaks

Islam El Shehaby, a 34-year-old Egyptian judoka has been sent home from the Olympics after he refused to shake the hand of his Israeli opponent, Or Sasson. El Shehaby, who was sent home by the Egyptian authorities, lost the fight on Friday and was reprimanded by the IOC for his actions. When called back by the referee to bow, El Shehaby gave a quick nod before walking off amid loud boos from the crowd.

The Egyptian stated afterwards that shaking an opponent’s hand is not mandatory as it’s not one of the rules. “It happens between friends and he’s not my friend. 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.”

As a measure against such actions in the future, the IOC’s Disciplinary Committee has mandated the Egyptian Olympic Committee to properly educate their athletes on Olympic values.

This is not the first time athletes from Arab nations would refuse to compete with Israeli athletes in Olympics or other international competitions. At the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Arash Mirasmaeili, an Iranian Judoka refused to fight his Israeli counterpart, Ehud Vaks, a decision that earned wide applause in his country.

By Tolu Soetan

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