Israeli judoka Or Sasson defeated Egyptian rival Islam El Shahaby in the first round of the men’s over-100kg competition at the Rio Games on Friday, and was left standing when his opponent refused to shake his hand at the end of the match.
In judo it is customary to both bow to opponents — a sign of respect in Japan — and shake hands after a bout is over.
El Shehaby had been well beaten but stood impassively and then backed away as Sasson tried to shake his hand.
As he left the mat area, El Shehaby was called back to the center by the referee to bow.
But he was then loudly jeered out of the arena by angry supporters.
He later announced he was quitting judo.
There was lots of pressure on El Shehaby not to compete with an Israeli to begin with. It is possible that El Shehaby was trying to make everyone happy, which was a very big mistake - the story is all over mainstream media now.
Perhaps most surprising is that The Egyptian Olympic Committee is not standing by El Shehaby:
The Egyptian Olympic committee said judoka Islam El-Shehaby should have upheld sportsmanship values after he refused to shake hands with an Israeli opponent following a game which he lost the Rio Games on Friday.
"El-Shehaby was instructed to conform to the principles and standards of sportsmanship during his game against the Israeli judoka," the committee said in a statement.
"It's just a judo game in a global showpiece. What happened after the match was only an individual action from the Egyptian judoka."
Last year an Egyptian judo champion beat his Israeli opponent, and also refused to shake his hand. Perhaps El Shehaby thought that he could do the same in front of a world audience.
A poll ahead of the match at Arabic RT asked readers if El Shehaby should forfeit reather than go against the Israeli. 63% said no.
Any way you look at it, this is a stunning defeat for Arabs who are against any sort of normalization with Israel.
UPDATE: The same thing happened in 2011.
UPDATE: The letter from the Egyptian Olympic Committee:
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