Islam El Shehaby

Islam El Shehaby (Arabic: إسلام الشهابيʾIslām ash-Shahābī; born 1 August 1982) is an Egyptian former judoka.

Islam El Shehaby
Medal record
Representing  Egypt
Men's Judo
World Championships
Bronze medal – third place 2010 Tokyo +100 kg
Mediterranean Games
Bronze medal – third place 2005 Almeria +100 kg
Bronze medal – third place 2009 Pescara +100 kg

He competed at the 2008, 2012, and 2016 Summer Olympics. El Shehaby was a nine-time African Champion (2002–13), and was the world bronze medalist in 2010 in Tokyo. He won five World Cup medals, and competitions in Abu Dhabi, Düsseldorf, Moscow, Qingdao, Cairo and Baku. El Shehaby won silver at the 2016 Grand Prix Düsseldorf in the O100 classification.[1]

Following controversy regarding his refusal to shake the hand of Israeli judoka Or Sasson, who defeated him at the 2016 Summer Olympics, he retired in August 2016.[2] The Disciplinary Committee of the International Olympic Committee issued a "severe reprimand" to El Shehaby for behavior violating "the rules of fair play and against the spirit of friendship embodied in the Olympic Values," and he was sent home before the Olympics closing ceremony.[3][4]

Personal lifeEdit

Islam El Shehaby in the +100kg category of the 2010 World Judo Championships held in Tokyo, Japan.

Islam El Shehaby was born in Cairo, Egypt, and is a conservative Salafi Muslim.[5][6][7] He is 1.95 m (6' 5") tall, and weighs 135 kg (298 lbs.)[7]


El Shehaby competed at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, where he was thrown twice by and lost to Israeli Or Sasson, who later won a bronze medal in the competition.[8] After the match, El Shehaby refused to bow or shake hands with his opponent, after the Israeli had bowed to him.[4] As a result of his major breach of judo etiquette, the Egyptian was loudly booed and jeered by the near-capacity crowd.[2][5][9]

After his defeat, El Shehaby lay flat on his back for a moment before standing to take his place before Sasson, in front of the referee. When Sasson extended his hand to the Egyptian, El Shehaby backed away, shaking his head and shunning Sasson.[2][5] The referee then called El Shehaby back to the mat and demanded that he bow, at which point El Shehaby gave a quick nod of his head.[6]

El Shehaby's conduct was widely condemned as unsportsmanlike.[10] American coach Jimmy Pedro said "That is extremely rare in judo. It is especially disrespectful considering it was a clean throw and a fair match. It was completely dishonourable and totally unsportsmanlike on the part of the Egyptian."[5] His conduct led to some giving him the sardonic moniker "Islam El SheBaby".[11][12][13][14] BBC judo commentator Mark Doran said. "That is not what the Olympics are about."[15]

El Shehaby's refusal to shake hands had precedent, in actions by another member of Egypt's team. Egyptian judoka Ramadan Darwish had refused to shake hands with his Israeli opponent Arik Zeevi, another Israeli Olympic bronze medalist, in both the 2011 Judo Grand Slam and the 2012 Judo Grand Prix.[5][6]

Prior to competing, El Shehaby had been urged to forfeit the match by Egyptian Islamists and nationalists, as Iranian Javad Mahjoub had done years earlier in forfeiting a match against Or Sasson.[16] The Egyptian Olympic Committee stated that El Shehaby was alerted before the match to abide by all the rules and have sporting spirit. The committee also stated that what he did was a personal action.[17]

Both the International Olympic Committee and the International Judo Federation stated that they would review the incident, to see if action should be taken.[9][18][19] It is unclear what potential punishment El Shehaby or Egyptian judo as a whole could face, but his hopes of medaling were dashed regardless due to Sasson's decisive performance in the quarterfinals.[10]

Following his defeat and the related controversy, El Shehaby announced he was retiring from judo.[2]

The Ethics Committee and the Disciplinary Committee of the International Olympic Committee issued a "severe reprimand" to El Shehaby for behavior violating "the rules of fair play and against the spirit of friendship embodied in the Olympic Values", and he was reportedly sent home before the Olympics closing ceremony.[3][4] IOC Disciplinary Committee also requested that the Egyptian Olympic Committee in the future make certain that all Egyptian athletes are properly educated as to the Olympic Values before they participate in the Olympic Games.[3] Egypt's Judo Federation however denied that he had been punished and claimed he had traveled back home with his team as scheduled since it was customary for athletes to go back once their competitions were finished.[20]


Year Tournament Place Weight class
2016 2016 Summer Olympics DSQ Heavyweight (+100 kg)
2008 African Judo Championships 2nd Heavyweight (+100 kg)
1st Open class
2006 African Judo Championships 2nd Heavyweight (+100 kg)
5th Open class
2005 African Judo Championships 2nd Heavyweight (+100 kg)
2nd Open class
Mediterranean Games 3rd Heavyweight (+100 kg)
2004 African Judo Championships 3rd Heavyweight (+100 kg)
1st Open class
2002 African Judo Championships 1st Heavyweight (+100 kg)
2001 African Judo Championships 2nd Heavyweight (+100 kg)
3rd Open class

See alsoEdit

External linksEdit


  1. ^ "Islam El Shehaby, Judoka, JudoInside". 1982-08-01. Retrieved 2016-10-06.
  2. ^ a b c d Webster, Andrew (2016-08-13). "Teddy Riner wins Rio judo gold - but Israeli judoka all class in wake of Egypt handshake snub". Retrieved 2016-08-13.
  3. ^ a b c Grohmann, Karolos (2016-08-15). "Egyptian judoka sent home over handshake refusal with Israeli". Reuters. Retrieved 2016-10-06.
  4. ^ a b c "Olympics ethics committee warns Egyptian judoka Shehabi". Egypt Independent. 2016-08-15. Retrieved 2016-10-06.
  5. ^ a b c d e "Egyptian Judo Athlete Refuses Israeli's Handshake". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 2016-08-13.
  6. ^ a b c "Egyptian judoka refuses handshake with Israeli". Retrieved 2016-08-13.
  7. ^ a b "Islam El-Shehaby Bio, Stats, and Results". Olympics at Archived from the original on 2016-12-03. Retrieved 2016-08-15.
  8. ^ "Egyptian judo fighter refuses to shake Israeli opponent's hand". Retrieved 2016-08-15.
  9. ^ a b "Egyptian judo fighter refuses to shake Israeli opponent's hand". Retrieved 2016-08-13.
  10. ^ a b Chiari, Mike. "Islam El Shehaby Refuses Handshake After 1st-Round Judo Loss". Retrieved 2016-08-13.
  11. ^ "Islam El Shebaby Archives - Sportfeed". Sportfeed. Retrieved 2016-08-26.[permanent dead link]
  12. ^ "Foxcrawl". Foxcrawl. Retrieved 2016-08-26.
  13. ^ "#ElShebaby hashtag on Twitter". Retrieved 2016-08-26.
  14. ^ "tom sawyer on Twitter". Retrieved 2016-08-26.
  15. ^ "Defeated Egyptian judoka refuses to shake Israeli opponent's hand". Retrieved 2016-08-13.
  16. ^ "Fans Pressure Egyptian Judoka Not to 'Shame Islam' by Contending Against Israeli at Rio Olympics". Retrieved 2016-08-13.
  17. ^ Press, Associated. "Egyptian judoka refuses to shake Israeli opponent's hand". NBC Olympics. Retrieved 2016-10-06.
  18. ^ "Egyptian judoka quits sport after refusing to shake Israel rival's hand". Retrieved 2016-08-13.
  19. ^ "IOC to probe Egyptian judoka's refusal to shake Israeli's hand". Retrieved 2016-08-13.
  20. ^ Joshua Berlinger. "Olympics: Was Egyptian Judoka punished for refusing to shake Israeli's hand?". Retrieved 2016-08-17.