Egypt misses top medal hopefuls at Tokyo Games

The ban relates to seven Egyptian players who failed doping tests during the 2016 Youth African Championships, which was held in Cairo

Mahmoud Elassal , Wednesday 21 Jul 2021
Moahmed Ehab

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Egypt's hopes to win medals at the Olympic Games were largely pinned on weightlifters who are no longer available, dealing a big blow to the country's aspirations for some glory in Tokyo.

Mohamed Ihab and Sara Samir, who claimed two of Egypt's three medals five years ago in Rio, were banned as a result of two-year suspension handed down to the Egyptian weightlifting federation by the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) over doping cases.

"All Egyptian weightlifting players, administrators and coaches were also suspended, while the Egyptian federation was also fined $200,000," a statement by the Egyptian Olympic committee read in September 2020.

The ban relates to an incident in 2016 when seven Egyptian players failed doping tests during the Youth African Championships in Cairo.

In the wake of the ban, Egypt's participation in the Olympics was thrown into doubt, but the bad news was confirmed after the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) turned down the country's appeal in December 2020.

"What happened is normal as we already have players who failed in doping tests and that has happened with other countries like china, Bulgaria and Russia," Egyptian Olympic committee secretary-general Sherif El-Erian told Ahram Online after the ban.

"The rules are clear and the attempts of the Egyptian Weightlifting Federation president to overturn the fine or the suspension through his position in the international federation were the reasons behind the delay from 2016," he added.

Ihab capped a memorable year in 2018 by winning six gold medals in snatch, clean and jerk and total in the men's 81kg category at both the 5th senior international Weightlifting championships and the Arab Weightlifting Championship in Cairo.

"I will miss the Olympics after five years of intense efforts," Ihab, 31, wrote on his Facebook account.

He also won three gold medals at the 5th senior international Solidarity Weightlifting championships, which is also a qualifying event for the Olympics.

Despite the suspension, Ihab won the Egyptian Weightlifting championship title after claiming the gold medal of the men's 81kg event in June 2021.  

Egypt clinched two bronze medals in the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, thanks to Mohamed Ihab (77Kg) and Sara Samir (69Kg).

Samir was the greatest revelation of the Rio Games, winning her medal at the age of 19 after beating 2016 European champion Nazik Avdalyan of Armenia.

The 23-year-old also handed Egypt its first weightlifting Olympic medal since the country won two gold medals and one silver at the 1948 London Games.

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

 

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