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December 30, 2014

Rare Photos of a Young Osama bin Laden Dressed in His Judo in the Early 1980s

Jimmy Wu, a top Taiwan judo coach, told Reuters in an interview on the sidelines of a tournament in the central city of Taichung that he came across bin Laden when coaching the Saudi Arabian national judo team from 1981 to 1991.

Bin Laden, whom Wu then knew only as "Osama", attended classes at the judo centre while still a university student. He was too tall for judo, and Wu said he advised him against the sport, but he was insistent so Wu accepted him.

"I didn't know the name bin Laden then," Wu said. "After 9/11 (attacks on New York and Washington), I was invited to a seminar, and some of my former students there said 'oh Jimmy, Osama, now he's our hero'. I was surprised and I looked for some pictures and I said 'oh this guy' and I started to have some memory of him."

Wu showed Reuters photographs of himself and a tall, thin, bearded, serious young man with a mop of black hair whom he said was Osama. Osama attended lessons two to three times a week but Wu never saw him again after 1984.

Reuters has no way of verifying that the man in the pictures was bin Laden.

Bin Laden was shot dead by U.S. forces in Pakistan on May 2, 2011. He had been on America's most wanted list since his followers carried out the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York in 2001.

An undated photograph shows Taiwanese coach Jimmy Wu (C) seen with who he says is himself with Osama Bin Laden (R) and an unidentified man dressed in their judo gi in Riyadh. REUTERS/Photo Courtesy of Jimmy Wu Cheng-min

Taiwanese coach Jimmy Wu poses with what Wu says is a photo of himself (C, in picture) with Osama Bin Laden (R, in picture) dressed in their judo gi, during an interview with Reuters in Taichung May 7, 2011. Wu showed Reuters photographs of himself and a tall, thin, bearded, serious young man with a mop of black hair whom he said was Osama. Osama attended lessons two to three times a week but Wu never saw him again after 1984. REUTERS/Nicky Loh

An undated photograph provided by Taiwanese judo coach Jimmy Wu (2nd R) shows what Wu says is Osama Bin Laden (C, top) having a meal with fellow judo members in Riyadh.

An undated photograph provided by Taiwanese judo coach Jimmy Wu (2nd R) shows what Wu says is Osama Bin Laden (C, top) having a meal with fellow judo members in Riyadh.

An undated photograph provided by Taiwanese judo coach Jimmy Wu shows what Wu says is Osama Bin Laden dressed in his judo gi in Riyadh.

(via Reuters)

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