Egypt Kung fu player Mohamed Youssef has been officially suspended for one year for his gesture in support of ousted president Mohamed Morsi earlier in October.
“We had a meeting late Saturday and all board members agreed to give Youssef a one-year suspension from all competitions at national and international levels,” president of the Egyptian Kung fu Association Sherif Mostafa told Ahram Online in exclusive interview Sunday.
While receiving the gold medal at a competition in Russia, Youssef wore a T-shirt displaying the four-fingered symbol associated with the Rabaa Al-Adawiya protest camp in Cairo's Nasr City, dispersed violently by the police on 14 August.
Hundreds died in subsequent clashes across the country.
Youssef said in exclusive interview with Ahram Online 29 October that he is proud of what he did, saying it was in solidarity with some of his friends and neighbours who died at Rabaa. He apologised only for the embarrasment he may have caused to officials.
The Egyptian Kung fu Association temporarliy banned Youssef from representing Egypt in the recent world championships, which took place in Malaysia, and ordered him to return to Cairo to await official sanction.
The case created a lot of controversy and debate in the media. Several reports claimed Youssef had been banned for two years; these reports were denied by Mostafa who said a decision would be taken after the Malaysia world championships.
Back in Egypt Friday, Mostafa held an urgent meeting with the Egyptian Kung fu Association board.
“We have decided to make the punishment one year only, putting into consideration the player’s interest and also that it was his first fault,” Mostafa explained Sunday.
The Kung fu Association has been under much pressure to react, especially after another player was pictured making the four-fingered Rabaa sign. Circulating reports suggested that Minister of Sports Taher Abou-Zeid was investigating the status of the association itself.
“We decided to warn the other player, Hisham Abdel-Hamid, who made the Rabaa sign in Malaysia as the incident didn’t come in an official event. He was totally committed during the tournament," Mostafa said.
“We are not being investigated by the sports ministry — we have assurances from the ministry,” concluded Mostafa.
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