World of Sport

Snooker player in handshake controversy

World of Sport

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A snooker player has had a run-in with a top match official after refusing to shake a female referee's hand after a match.

Britain's Rory McLeod did not shake hands with Chinese referee Ivy Zhu after winning his qualifying match for the Australian Open, prompting top referee Jan Verhaas to criticise the player for what he saw as a snub.

Verhaas - who has refereed the World Championship final four times - wrote on his Twitter page: "Rory McLeod refused to shake female ref Ivy Zhu's hand this morning because of his Muslim beliefs. You may think what you like about it..."

It is not unusual for Muslim men to avoid all physical contact with women, however, and Zhu herself was reportedly completely unruffled by the incident -- according to one report, she even joked on her own blog that it helped save a bit of time after world number 35 McLeod's 5-2 win over Robert Milkins.

Northamptonshire-born McLeod, who in 2009 became the first black player to take part in the World Championship at the Crucible, converted to Islam in 2000 and has explained in the past how his faith helps him with his game.

He is often seen listening to verses from the Koran on his iPod, a habit which he claims, "calms me down... I find there are no better words or speech than that to help put me in the right state of mind."

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