File Photo: Egyptian star Sara Samir is one of many world weightlifting champions banned by late decisions (Photo: Reuters)
Egypt has been banned from participating in all activities of the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) for two years, the country's Olympic committee revealed in a statement Wednesday.
"We were surprised with the reopening of the 2016 case by the independent committee that was formed by the international federation in 2018. The Egyptian Weightlifting Federation was found guilty by the committee and got a two-year ban from all IWF international activities," reads the Egyptian Olympic committee statement.
"All Egyptian weightlifting players, administrators and coaches were also suspended, while the Egyptian federation was also fined $200,000," the statement added.
On Tuesday, Egypt's national team was excluded from participating in the 2019 (IWF) World Championships which kick off Wednesday in Pattaya over doping cases that date to 2016.
Egypt's national team, including stars Mohamed Ihab and Sara Samir, was holding a training camp in Azerbaijan, but the players returned home after the exclusion.
After an urgent meeting with Egyptian Sports Minister Ashraf Sobhy on Tuesday morning, the Egyptian Olympic committee secretary-general, Sherif El-Erian, told Ahram Online that no action will be taken until the committee is officially notified of the ban.
The 2016 incident
The ban relates to seven Egyptian players who failed doping tests during the 2016 Youth African Championships, which was held in Cairo.
Egypt lodged an appeal after the seven players' four-year suspension in 2017, to keep punitive action limited to individuals, but no decision was taken regarding the appeal.
"The recent decision by the IWF committee isn't correct as it is contrary to the rules of not imposing more than one sanction for one act," read Wednesday's statement by the Egyptian Olympic committee.
“Also, it comes more than three years after the act itself, besides the fact that the suspension is now imposed on all players who didn't commit any mistake, while those who were accused in the 2016 incident were already banned for four years," the statement added.
Egyptian Olympic committee reaction
In the wake of the ban, Egypt's participation in the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo has fallen in doubt. But the country's Olympic committee vowed to do its best to solve the problem soon.
"We contacted the secretary general of the IWF and he told us that the case will be discussed during the federation's executive board meeting on 25 and 26 September," the statement explained.
"The committee will also undertake legal procedures, whether through lodging an appeal or through appealing to the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) within the legal 21-day period after the ban announcement," the statement added.