Egypt May Face Lengthy Ban and Fine Over Teenage Doping Scandal

The Egyptian Weightlifting Federation may be facing a hefty fine and ban from international competition over a recent violation of the IWF’s doping policies. As first reported by Reuters, Seven Egyptian weightlifters tested positive for the use of performance enhancing drugs. Soon after these allegations, Egypt withdrew from the 2017 IWF Junior World Championships, which start today in Tokyo, Japan.

At the time of testing, the seven positive athletes were made up of two 20 year old athletes and five teenagers, two of whom were 14-year old girls. IWF testers were following normal World Anti Doping Agency (WADA) protocol, and were testing for the 2016 African Youth and Junior Championships.

Under WADA’s policies, only two names can be publicly released (the five teenagers are too young). The two 20 years old athletes in question include Ahmed Emad Gouda and Alla Yasser Zaki. Gouda won gold at the 2016 African Junior Championships for the -77kg weight class, and Zaki won gold in the -75kg weight class.

The Head of the Egyptian Weightlifting Federation, Mahmoud Mahjoub, has gone on record in response to the news:

“There is a conspiracy against the Egyptian Federation behind doping cases.” 

But Mahjoub’s federation hasn’t provided any further evidence or information backing the statement. An internal investigation of the federation has begun.

The IWF have stated they’ll remain silent on the matter until the cases are closed. If Egypt is found to be guilty with their seven positive athletes, then they may be facing a hefty fine and ban from international competition.

Osama Ghoneim, Head of the Egyptian anti-doping committee, said, “He had not been informed of any sanctions yet, but the rules stipulate that the local federation must be sanctioned for three years and fined $250,000 if positive cases appear.”

This news comes at a time of turmoil for international weightlifting, as the IOC recently made cuts to the 2020 Olympics Weightlifting competition, dropping total athlete participation from 260 to 196. Additionally, they dropped a men’s weight class to create gender equality instead of adding a women’s class.

In an Inside the Games article, the IOC has gone on record saying these cuts were made to make a statement about their seriousness with weightlifting’s doping issues.

Feature image from @iwfnet Instagram page.