There will not be any Egyptian weightlifters competing at the 2019 International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) World Championships this month due to multiple doping offenses that have surfaced. Inside the Games first reported the news, stating that the Independent Member Federation Sanctions Panel (IMFSP) has banned the Egyptian Weightlifting Federation (EWF) for two years.
The Egyptian athletes that are currently on the start list for the IWF World Championships will be removed before the start of the action in Pattaya, Thailand on September 18th.
[Related: Our preview of the 2019 IWF World Championships]
The Egyptian Weightlifting Federation (EWF) still has 21 days to appeal the decision, and Inside the Games reported that EWF President, Kamal Mahmoud Mahgoub has a plan to do so. If this ban isn’t lifted, Egypt’s weightlifting team will also be banned from the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.
If Egypt’s team is banned from the Tokyo Olympics, they wouldn’t be the only country to lose their chances at weightlifting gold. Last month, Thailand’s weightlifting team pulled out from the Tokyo Olympic Games over doping charges, and also confirmed they wouldn’t have any athletes competing at the 2019 IWF World Championships.
Inside the Games’ reported that Egypt’s ban is a result of multiple doping offences from December 2016. Any country that has three or more positive tests in a calendar year is subject to a ban. The IWF announced two violations from two 20-year-old athletes (a male and a female) in January 2017, but two 14-year-old female athletes also reportedly tested positive at the 2017 Africa Youth and Junior Championships. However, the IWF hasn’t officially confirmed the 14-year-olds’ violations. (As minors, they’re exempt from public disclosures.)
“I hope my lifters can at least participate in the last period of the qualification to the Olympics because now they have already participated in the first and second periods, and there remains only one period, the last one, starting from November until April,” EWF’s President said in a statement to Inside the Games.
One Egyptian weightlifter who has made a significant impact in the sport is former -77kg world champion, Mohamed Ehab. If this ban isn’t lifted then Ehab, who many hoped would bring home a medal from Tokyo, won’t even appear on the -81kg platform.
There’s still a lot to be uncovered here, involving who and when, however what we do know is that we will certainly not be seeing any Egyptian weightlifters at this year’s IWF World Championships.
Featured image from @iwfnet Instagram page.