Update: Vincenzo Piroddu, president of wrestling event organizer Polisportiva Athlon, denied that the biting incident happened in an email to TheBlaze.
Piroddu said he “learn[ed] with dismay that this false news was disseminated around the world. No incident occurred during the sports event organized by us.”
“The event is documented in several streaming broadcasts. In a few days will be available on YouTube full video of the matches where you can see that nothing has happened,” he added.
Piroddu said Kratysh will meet with Italian journalists on Monday “to shed light on what happened.”
Israeli champion wrestler Ilana Kratysh says she was bitten and had two of her fingers broken by an Egyptian rival during a match on Saturday. Even so, the Israeli athlete won the competition to secure first place in the Golden Grand Prix tournament, which took place in Italy over the weekend.
The Israeli website Ynet first reported the story, and a family friend of Kratysh confirmed it to TheBlaze.
In the semi-final, Kartysh met the African champion, Anas Mostafa of Egypt. At the beginning of the match, Mostafa refused to shake hands with her. During the fight, she broke two of the Israeli’s fingers and bit her in the back – causing her to bleed. At the end of the match, unsurprisingly, she refused to shake hands with her again.
“I can’t remember such dirty behavior in sports,” Kartysh told Ynet after the fight. “In wrestling you must shake hands at the beginning of a match and at the end of a match. But not only did she refuse to shake my hand, she even broke my fingers and bit me until I began bleeding.
“On the ground, when she was on top of me, she just bit me. I have her teeth marks on my back, and I began bleeding too,” the Israeli wrestler adds. “Because of her dirty behavior my desire to beat her grew stronger.”
Kratysh further told Ynet, “From the beginning of the match, when she didn’t come over to shake my hand – I knew something was wrong. I felt some kind of hatred towards me and I don’t know why, maybe it has to do with politics and maybe not, but it’s never happened to me before. She really attacked me.”
Lazar Kaplun who heads the non-profit Unified Haifa and is a close family friend of Kratysh confirmed the Israeli athlete’s report in a telephone call with TheBlaze Sunday morning. After speaking with her family, he said, “It was a very dirty fight, including biting, hitting, unsportsmanlike things.”
“When she won first place, they played Hatikva [the Israeli national anthem]. There were a lot of Muslims there, from Turkey, Egypt, Tunisia and other countries. They didn’t stand during the national anthem. That’s not new for us. One Turkish athlete did try to stand but his friends told him to sit back down,” Kaplun said.
The Golden Grand Prix is one of several international wrestling competitions held each year. Kratysh won second place in the European championships earlier this year. Due to Arab efforts at boycotting Israeli athletes, Israeli sports clubs as a rule compete in the European circuit rather than in Asia.
In February 2012, TheBlaze reported on an incident in which Egyptian judoka Ramadan Darwish shouted “Allahu Akbar” and refused to shake the hand of Israeli rival Arik Zeevi after the Egyptian defeated him in the quarterfinals of the Judo Grand Prix in Dusseldorf, Germany. An Egyptian website at the time called Darwish a “national hero.”
Ilana Kratysh’s life also began dramatically. She was born one hour after her parents landed in Israel as immigrants from Russia 23 years ago. She told the Jewish Tribune in Canada last year, “My mother had contractions and a doctor on board asked whether she wanted to give birth on the plane… She decided to take medicine to delay the delivery until the plane landed in Israel.”
Kratysh is spending several months in Canada to train for the Olympics. While in Israel, she volunteers for the non-profit Unified Haifa which provides sports training and athletic summer camps for low-income children who couldn’t otherwise afford the activities.
[Note on spelling: According to family friend Kaplun and her Facebook account, the wrestler spells her name Kratysh. In Hebrew, it could also be transliterated as Kartysh, which is the spelling Ynet used.]
This post has been updated.