UAE Officials Apologize To Israel For Snub

Two senior sporting officials from the United Arab Emirates have apologized after one of the country’s competitors refused to shake hands with an Israeli opponent at a judo tournament.

Politics threatened to overshadow sporting matters during this week’s Abu Dhabi Judo Grand Slam, given the UAE has no diplomatic ties with Israel and like most other Arab countries doesn’t recognize it as a state.

Five Israeli athletes won medals at the IPIC Arena, only to be greeted by the official music and flag of the International Judo Federation (IJF) while standing on the podium.

Compounding matters, a UAE athlete declined to shake hands with Israel’s Tohar Butbul — an eventual bronze medalist — following the pair’s first-round match on Friday.

But in a move branded “historic” by the IJF, Israel Judo Association President Moshe Ponte met this weekend with Mohammad Bin Thaloub Al-Darei, president of the UAE’s Judo Federation.

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