10:48 26 oct

Islam El Shehaby: "I've respected the judo rules"

The Egyptian explains his own version of yesterday's incident

In the eye of the storm yesterday August 12th 2016 for having refused to shake the hand of his opponent Ori Sasson from Israël, who beat him in the first round of the +100kg category of the Olympic tournament, the Egyptian Islam El Shehaby, well known by L'Esprit du judo readers for being since Summer 2013 one of the eleven members of our World Judo Academy, sent us during the night his own version of the incident, waiting eventually for further developpements.

[A French version is available here.]

It was a human reaction.
Shaking hand of your opponent is not an obligation written in the judo rules. It happens between friends and he’s not my friend. I’m fighting on the Tour since about 15 years now. I shake the hand of almost my opponents. Most of them are friends of mine, no matter of the results of our fights. Most of the time I’m even the one who starts to make the first step towards them and shake their hand.
Yesterday in +100kg we were 31 from all around the world. If I meet them, I shake the hand of 30 of them. I precise that 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. Everybody knew that I won’t shake his hand but the way it ended made me now becoming the bad guy of the story in the face of the world… I'm sorry but even if the referee had to call me back to end it properly, I nodded at my opponent and at the mat as it is written in the judo rules. I’ve respected the rules of my sport. Please respect my personal reasons.

Islam El Shehaby
4 times Olympian
2010 World Championships Bronze medallist
9 times African champion”

Interview by Anthony Diao


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