Egypt has been banned from participating in the 2019 International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) World Championships, which will kick off on Wednesday in Pattaya, over doping cases that date back to 2016, according to an official source on Tuesday.
The decision is reportedly over seven Egyptian players who failed in doping tests during the 2016 Youth African Championships, which was held in Cairo.
Egypt’s national team, including stars Mohamed Ihab and Sara Samir, was holding a training camp in Azerbaijan, but the players will return home after Egypt’s exclusion from the participating squads.
“The starting lists were announced on Tuesday and we were surprised to find that we were excluded. We will return to Egypt,” Egyptian weightlifting star Mohamed Ihab told press from the camp Azerbaijan.
Egypt lodged an appeal after the seven players’ suspension in 2017 to avoid a ban from the competition and keep punishments limited to individuals, but no concrete decision was taken regarding the appeal.
After the recent ban, Egypt’s participation in the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo has come in doubt since bans in doping cases usually involve a two-year suspension.
Despite the fact that no official announcement has been made yet by IWF, or even the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) regarding Egypt, the country’s weightlifting federation is expected to lodge an appeal against the ban within a week.
“There will be a lawyer in the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) to solve the problem of appearing in the Tokyo Olympics,” added the 29-year-old Ihab, who won the bronze medal in the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.
“Our exclusion from the World Championships won’t affect our participation in the Olympics, but on the condition that we return to the international scene and continue the coming international tournaments,” he continued.
When asked if there had been any mismanagement that may have caused the ban directly before the world tournament, Ihab said that he knows nothing about what goes on behind the scenes.
“We hope the problem will be solved soon,” he said.
Reporters tried to reach the Egyptian Weightlifting Federation and the Egyptian Olympic Committee to comment on the matter, but neither were available for comment.