Mohamed Ihab of Egypt reacts (Reuters Photo)
The Egyptian Weightlifting Federation has been suspended by the local Olympic committee after fresh doping cases were discovered as the sport faces an uncertain future in the country, less than a year before the Tokyo Games.
The Olympic Committee said in a lengthy statement on Tuesday that Mahmoud Mahgoub, the head of the Weightlifting Federation, had asked to be suspended from his position until investigations are carried out.
An interim committee will take charge of the federation, which was notified by the organizing committee of the All-Africa Games on Monday that five weightlifters had tested positive for banned substances at the Morocco Games.
Earlier in the day, Egypt's most decorated weightlifter Mohamed Ihab announced his retirement as his hopes of competing for another Olympic medal in Tokyo were dealt a severe blow.
On 18 September, Egypt's Olympics committee revealed that the country has been banned from participating in all activities of the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) for two years 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.
In the wake of the ban, Egypt's participation in the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo has fallen into doubt, but the country's Olympic committee vowed to do its best and take all possible legal action to resolve the problem.
"I decided to retire after Egypt's recent ban. My target was to achieve a gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics, but it is difficult to lift the ban," Ihab, who secured the bronze medal at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in 2016, told Egyptian sports website Filgoal.com on Tuesday.
"There is no reason to continue my career. It isn't our fault. If a miracle happens and the ban is lifted, I will return immediately.
"I will concentrate on completing my masters and I will begin my coaching career," he added.
Egypt's Olympic committee said on Tuesday it would lodge an appeal with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in a bid to have the suspension lifted before the Tokyo Games.
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