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Wednesday, 01 April 2020

Egypt's Abouelkassem takes his foil down after Rio 2016 Games

Egypt's leading fencer has requested that detractors refrain from criticism of Egyptian athletes for the rest of the games

Mahmoud Elassal , Monday 8 Aug 2016
Alaaeldin Abouelkassem
Alexander Choupenitch from Chezh, right, and Alaaeldin Abouelkassem from Egypt, competes in the Men's Individual Foil Fencing at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Sunday, Aug. 7, 2016. (AP)
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Egypt's fencing star Alaa Abouelkassem has slammed criticism of his loss in an individual foil game on Sunday, while also announcing his retirement after participating in the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

"The teams' championship will be my last appearance," Abouelkassem announced on his Facebook account late on Sunday.

Hopes of Egypt's fencing star Abouelkassem winning another Olympic medal in the men's individual foil were dashed after he lost to Italy's Daniele Garozzo 15-13 in the round of 16 at the Rio Games on Sunday.

Abouelkassem, who became the first African fencer to win an Olympic medal after clinching silver at the 2012 London Games, suffered from more criticism after quitting the men's individual foil.

"I don't play football or have a contract with a team- I just depend on my own facilities," Abouelkassem added in his statement.

Previously, the fencer was reportedly named as the Egyptian flag holder at Rio and he celebrated this news himself. Though the Egyptian Olympic Committee later named Ahmed El-Ahmar from the handball team as the flag holder.

"They confused me with the flag holding as they told me first to hold it but then they changed their minds," Abouelkassem added.

The 25-year-old suffered a scare just a few days before the games got underway after hurting his ankle but his doctor confirmed that he would be fit to play.

"You don't know the atmosphere I have worked in since the championship (2012 Olympic Games). I have remained silent for four years despite suffering from travel, injuries and trainings."

Abouelkassem asked detractors to allow the remaining athletes to continue at the Rio games without criticism as they represent their country and their success has to please all Egyptians.

Led by Abouelkassem, the Egyptian Fencing Federation (EFA) sent eight fencers, guided by four technical staff members, to Rio de Janeiro on Saturday, just as the anticipated and most prestigious sports event kicked off on 5 August.

Egypt are competing in the individual foil, epee and sabre. The men's foil is the only team discipline that Egypt will participate in.

(For more sports news and updates, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter at @AO_Sports and on Facebook at AhramOnlineSports.)

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