CAIRO – Former Egyptian judoka Mohamed Ali Rashwan, lauded for his role in a famous gold-medal bout against Yasuhiro Yamashita at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, received a prestigious Japanese award in a ceremony in Cairo on Monday.
Rashwan, 63, received the Order of the Rising Sun, Silver Rays at the residence of the Japanese ambassador to Egypt, after becoming a recipient of spring decorations conferred by the emperor for his longtime efforts to spread judo.
During the gold-medal match against Yamashita at the Los Angeles Games, Rashwan refrained from targeting his opponent’s injured right calf, a decision that cost him gold but won him the respect of the sporting world for his demonstration of great sportsmanship.
Yamashita, 62, who serves as the chief of the Japanese Olympic Committee, sent a video for the ceremony where he looked back at their match 35 years ago and congratulated Rashwan, saying he is an important person in the world of judo.
The Egyptian took note of his unbreakable bond with Yamashita and expressed a wish that he can continue his close relationship with Japan.
Egyptian Minister of Youth and Sports, Ashraf Sobhy, also attended the ceremony, while Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike, who for a time studied in Egypt, sent a congratulatory message.