Egyptian wrestler Baghdoda makes first appearance since secret departure to Europe

Amr Kandil , Sunday 4 Jun 2023

Controversial Egyptian wrestler Ahmed Baghdoda, who sparked a wave of speculation with his sudden departure to Europe shortly after winning a silver medal in Tunisia in May, finally reappeared late Saturday.

Greco Roman wrestler Ahmed Baghdoda appears in a video on his Facebook page on Saturday for the first time since he abruptly left the national camp in Tunisia in May. Still image


Baghdoda, 21, broke nearly two weeks of silence and addressed his family and fans through a video posted on his official Facebook page.

In the video, Baghdoda expressed his gratitude to President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi for instructing the National Training Academy (NTA) to offer him a training and rehabilitation grant.

The Greco-Roman wrestler abruptly left the national team camp in Tunisia in mid-May and traveled to Europe, probably France, according to the Egyptian Wrestling Federation officials.

His departure was allegedly triggered by financial issues and ill-treatment by the federation.

Addressing his father in the video, Baghdoda hinted at these financial pressures.

"You worked very hard for me and you used to deprive yourself and my siblings so that I was able to cover the expenses of my college, travel and vitamins.”

“I grew up and became a man with empathy," he added.

Baghdoda's father, Fouad Baghdoda, stated earlier that his son had faced "unbearable" pressure due to the lack of financial support from the federation over the past year.

The wrestling federation was referred to the Public Prosecution for investigation following Baghdoda's departure.

Social media users have been divided over Baghdoda’s departure, with many speculating about his fate. Some users thought that Baghdoda had traveled to France to chase his dreams, while others described him as a “runaway.”

“I am not a runaway. I love Egypt, where I was born and I will die,” Baghdoda said in yesterday’s video.

“Egypt is full of numerous talents like Ahmed Baghdoda but they need support and good treatment,” he stressed.

Baghdoda did not confirm his location during the video, or whether he plans to continue playing as part of the national team. However, he said during the video that he would miss his family.

He also expressed his gratitude to the Egyptian people for their support.

“I would like to thank the great Egyptian people for the support. You are the best in my life,” the wrestler said, asking people to pray for him in the meantime.

In a statement following the incident, the Egyptian Wrestling Federation confirmed that they have been in communication with the United World Wrestling to ensure that Baghdoda remains a part of the Egyptian national team, in accordance with the applicable regulations.

Minister of Youth and Sports Ashraf Sobhi also instructed the formation of a ministerial committee to investigate Baghdoda’s departure from the national wrestling mission camp.

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