- The Washington Times - Friday, August 12, 2016

An Egyptian judo fighter was resoundingly booed at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro for refusing to shake the hand of his Israeli opponent.

Or Sasson defeated Islam El Shehaby on Monday in the men’s 100 kg contest. He then walked forward for a handshake and bow, but the Egyptian backpedaled and refused to touch Mr. Sasson, which sparked a torrent of boos from the crowd.

“We had an incident here,” a BBC commentator said. “The Egyptian walked away. He didn’t shake hands with his opponent. He did bow, I think. He’s being called back here. The rules of the sport demand — he must not have bowed to his opponent. Well, Sasson went over to shake his hand and he backed off. […] That’s very disappointing.” 

Mr. El Shehaby refused to comment on his behavior afterwards.

The International Judo Federation, however, tried to put a positive spin on the incident.

“This is already a big improvement that Arabic countries accept to (fight) Israel,” spokesman Nicolas Messner said in an email to CBS News.

Mr. Messner said rules did not demand a handshake at the end of a match.

The Washington Times chronicled the animosity leveled at Israeli athletes from Muslim nations on Wednesday, noting how the International Olympic Committee issued a reprimand to the head of the Lebanese Olympic delegation after he blocked Israeli athletes from entering a bus that the teams were supposed to share to reach the opening ceremony.

Joud Fahmy of Saudi Arabia also forfeited a first-round judo match Sunday in what the Israeli press said was an attempt to avoid facing Israel’s Gili Cohen in the second round, the Times reported.


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