2021 Yearender: Egyptian weightlifters snag gold after two-year ban

Ahmed Abd El Rasoul , Thursday 30 Dec 2021

After an almost two-year suspension for doping, 2021 witnessed the return of Egyptian weightlifting, with the country winning three medals at the world championship.


The ban was over doping offences committed during the 2016 African Championships and the 2019 All-African Games. The ban took effect on 9 September 2019 and ended on 9 September 2021.

After missing last summer's Tokyo Olympic Games due to the ban, the country returned to the contest, participating in the world championship that ran from 7 to 17 December in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.

Egypt was represented at the world championship by seven players, including 2016 Olympics bronze medallist Mohamed Ihab.

The 32-year-old came out of retirement in an attempt to grab some more silverware before the eclipse of his career.

The men's team was comprised of Ihab (81kg category), Karim Khala (89kg), Ahmed Ashour (96kg), and Ahmed Abdel-Hamid Gabr (+109kg). Promising junior weightlifter Abdallah Galal (96kg) was also part of the team.

The women's team composed only of Halima Abdel-Azim (+87kg) and Neama Said (63kg), as 2016 Olympics bronze medallist Sara Samir was missing due to being suspended.

Weightlifter Neama Said was Egypt's hero at the world championship after clinching three medals — two golds and one silver.

“I faced many challenges during the two-year suspension period, but finally I am very happy with my achievement in the world championship,” Naema told OnTime Sports TV channel.

“Our result is a big achievement as we faced many obstacles in the preparations, but the players did their best. Also, we were under huge pressure as we learned that we would be traveling just five days ahead of the tournament, and I was determined to deliver good results for Egypt after the two-year ban.

“I will work hard to win a gold medal in the coming Olympics in Paris, but we need more support to deliver good results.” she added.

The 19-year-old Neama competed in the women’s 64kg weight event, winning the gold medal after lifting 106kg in the snatch and also the silver after lifting 127kg in the clean and jerk.

She also won the gold for a total of 233kg, just one kilo ahead of silver medal winner Wen-Huei Chen of Taiwan and 16kg ahead of bronze medallist Minkyung Park of South Korea.

Egypt's weightlifting coach Mohamed Osman heaped praise on Neama, stressing that his team faced some challenges that affected the results in Uzbekistan negatively.

“Neama’s achievement is the first for Egypt since 2003, when Nahla Ramadan got the gold medal. She started the preparatory camp in March with an injury, but she has a big determination to achieve her target,” Osman told OnTime Sports TV channel on 21 December.

“Also, our player Halima was injured ahead of her game. All the success factors weren’t complete as we did not have a doctor or physical therapist with us, whether in the camp or at the tournament itself, and this affected our results negatively.

“Mohamed Ihab was injured just one day ahead of his competition. He worked hard in a rehabilitation program, but sadly he picked up another injury during the game that obliged him to withdraw.”

Unfortunately, Ihab, who won most of Egypt's medals, withdrew from the World Championship due to injury.

Ihab, who competed in the 81kg category, failed in two out of three Snatch attempts after appearing to be visibly in pain. He could not take part in the clean and jerk competition.

The rest of Egypt’s players did not achieve notable results at the tournament in Uzbekistan.

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

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