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Wednesday, 26 February 2020

Mohamed Ihab retires from weightlifting after Egypt's suspension

The most decorated Egyptian weightlifter of all time had announced his retirement for the first time in October 2019 after losing hope of competing in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics

Ahram Online , Thursday 5 Dec 2019
 Mohamed Ihab
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Egypt's weightlifting champion Mohamed Ihab has announced his retirement for the second time after the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) turned down Egypt's appeal concerning the ban of the Egyptian Weightlifting Federation (EWF).

The most decorated Egyptian weightlifter of all time had announced his retirement for the first time in October 2019 after losing hope of competing in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Two days later, Ihab recanted his announcement after speaking with Egypt's Sports Minister Ashraf Sobhi, who convinced Ihab to continue his preparations for the Olympics pending the appeal to lift the suspension on Egypt.

The International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) imposed last September a two-year ban on the Egyptian Weightlifting Federation over an old doping case. The ban relates to an incident in 2016 when seven Egyptian weightlifters failed doping tests during the 2016 Youth African Championships in Cairo.

This time, Ihab said that he sees no solutions to the crises, but he revealed that Minister Sobhi has asked for a meeting next week.

"I don't know what solutions Mr Sobhi will suggest, but I think this is it," Ihab told Ahram Online.

"I've been preparing for the Olympics the past four years. This was my hope to clinch another Olympic medal for my country, but it's over."

The Egyptian champion also said this was the easiest chance to win a gold medal, and that in the worst case he would clinch a silver medal for his nation.

When asked about the possibility of representing a country other than Egypt in the Olympics, he said, "This is not an option. I will not play for any country other than Egypt."

"The only chance is to play under the Olympic flag, but I've been told that this will not happened, as the whole country is suspended from participation, not only the Weightlifting Federation," the 30-year-old weightlifter explained.

Ihab has proven himself the best-ever weightlifter in Egypt's history, winning three medals, one gold, one bronze and one silver, and finished second at the World Weightlifting Championships in Ashgabat in November.

Ihab has become Egypt's most decorated weightlifter with four gold medals, ahead of Nahla Ramadan and the late Khedr El-Touni, who won three world medals each.

His most memorable achievement was the Olympic medal, which he clinched in 2016 after lifting 165kg in the snatch and 196kg in the clean and jerk to achieve a total of 361kg in the 77kg weight category. Ihab came in third after Kazakhstan's Nijat Rahimov and China's Lu Xiaojun.

Ihab warned all Egyptian sports federations not to repeat the same mistake and to pay more attention to doping tests for their athletes, so that clean athletes do not get punished for the mistakes of others.

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

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