Egypt denies judoka El-Shehaby was sent home from Rio for refusing to shake hand with Israeli

Eslam Omar , Monday 15 Aug 2016
Islam El Shehaby
Egypt's Islam El Shehaby, blue, declines to shake hands with Israel's Or Sasson, white, after losing during the men's over 100-kg judo competition at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Friday, Aug. 12, 2016. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

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The Egyptian judo FA has rubbished claims that judoka Islam El-Shehaby has been sent home from Rio de Janeiro after snubbing a handshake with an Israeli opponent and said that he had returned to Egypt as scheduled.

"All the judo players and some other members of the delegation have returned home on Sunday as part of their scheduled flight," Wahid Farid, the executive director of the judo federation, told Ahram Online on Monday.

El-Shehaby, 32, has come in for fierce criticism after refusing to shake the hands of Or Sasson, who beat him on Friday by Ippon.

The International Olympic Committee said earlier on Monday that El-Shehaby has been sent home from the Rio Olympics by his own team as a result of his violation of “fair play rules”.

It also said that he was reprimanded by the IOC for his action.

"Until this moment he hasn’t been notified of any blame or sanctions against him by the International Olympic Committee. Neither the Egyptian Olympic Committee nor the Egyptian Federation has the intention of sanctioning him, as far as I know,” Farid added.

"Handshake isn't a must in Judo. Judokas are only obligated to bow and he did that."

El-Shehaby had been pressured by some fans on social media not to show up for the match with his Israeli opponent.

Egypt was the first Arab power to make peace with Israel, in 1979, but the treaty remains unpopular among many Egyptians.

The International Olympic Committee opened a disciplinary commission following the incident, saying that "the Olympic spirit should be about building bridges, never about erecting walls." Reuters reported.

It also said in its Monday statement that it has asked the Egyptian Olympic Committee to “ensure in future that all their athletes receive proper education on the Olympic Values before coming to the Olympic Games”.

 

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