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Egyptian judoka refuses to shake hand of Israeli opponent in Rio

An Egyptian Olympic judo athlete refused to shake his Israeli competitor's hand on Friday after losing the competition.

Sasson, speaking to reporters after winning bronze in the +100kg category, shrugged off the incident.

Earlier this week, Israeli judoka Yarden Gerbi defeated Japan's Miku Tashiro to win the bronze medal in the women's 63 kilogram weight class, Israel's first medal at the Rio Olympics.

Sasson, who turns 26 on August 18, had lost his semifinal fight to France's Teddy Riner, the event's outstanding performer, who went on to retain his gold medal.

In an interview with an Egyptian media outlet, Islam El Shehaby tried to explain why he refused to shake Sasson's hand at the end of their fight.

"I mean, what I would also say is things happen in the heat of the moment that are not acceptable", he added.

"For me, it doesn't matter because I'm a professional fighter", he said.

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Failure to shake hands with an opponent after a fight is considered a major breach of judo etiquette.

The International Olympic Committee said El Shehaby's actions, which also included him barely engaging in the mandatory post-bout bow toward his opponent (a handshake is not mandatory), can not be tolerated and will be investigated. An International Judo Federation spokesman told The Associated Press that El Shehaby's "attitude will be reviewed after the Games to see if any further action should be taken".

The International Olympic Committee set up a disciplinary commission to look into the incident. In Friday's match, no points were scored by either side, but Sasson won over a penalty call.

"This is already a big improvement that Arabic countries accept to [fight] Israel", said a spokesman.

"Not shaking hands was his personal decision".

"Egypt will cry [if you play]", said a TV host on an Islamist-leaning network.

In a statement issued to explain the situation, the Committee said that El-Shehabi was "alerted before the match to abide by all the rules and to have a sporting spirit during his match with the Israeli athlete".

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