IOC sends home Egyptian athlete who refused to shake Israeli's hand


The Egyptian Olympic Committee also "strongly condemned" Shehaby's actions "and has sent him home", according to the IOC.

Egyptian judoka Islam el-Shahaby was reprimanded and sent home from the Rio de Janeiro Olympics after he refused to shake the hand of his Israeli opponent at the end of their match, Reuters reported on Monday.

The 34-year-old seemingly refused to offer his hand due to the nationality of his Israeli rival, which the International Olympics Committee (IOC) were quick to act upon.

Sasson gave the Israeli delegation its second medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics, both bronze in judo, with his victory over Alex Garcia Mendoza of Cuba on Friday night.

The Associated Press said that that when Sasson extended his hand, El Shehaby backed away, shaking his head.

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After the match, Shehaby said that he respects the rules of the sport but was under no obligation to shake hands with his opponent. "It happens between friends and he's not my friend", El Shehaby told L'Esprit du Judo. "For personal goal, you cannot ask me to shake the hand of anyone from this State [Israel], especially in front of the whole world".

El Shahaby had come under pressure from Islamist-leaning and nationalist voices in Egypt to withdraw entirely from the fight.

"Egypt will be sad and you will be seen as a traitor and a normalizer in the eyes of your people". While Shehaby and his trainers said the match would go ahead, rumours then spread that he would make a statement on the day by refusing to shake hands.

Egypt was the first country in the Arab world to sign a peace treaty and normalize relations with Israel after decades of war.