A YouTube video showing Iranian weightlifter Hossein Khodadadi refusing to shake hands with Israeli gold medalist Sergio Britva on the medal platform of an international competition has gone viral.
The video posted late last month had more than 165,000 hits as of Thursday.
Khodadadi, the silver medalist, snubs Britva before Israel’s national anthem, “Hatikvah,” is played at the medal ceremony of the World Masters Weightlifting Championship in Poland in early October.
Even though Khodadadi ran off the podium, continuing to avoid Britva, immediately after the medal ceremony, he was punished in his home country.
Khodadadi and Mir Rasool Raisi, the head of the delegation to Iran’s weightlifting team, upon returning to Iran from the competition were banned in their country from all sports for life for competing against the Israeli.
The Iranian Students’ News Agency reported that it was the first time since the Islamic Revolution in 1979 that an Iranian representative appeared beside an Israeli at an official competition.
Khodadadi told the agency that he was told that if he did not attend the ceremony, the Iranian delegation would have had to return the medals it won during the competition—all of the Iranian delegates won medals—and would be barred from future competitions.