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Egyptian Weightlifting Officials Jailed Amid Doping Scandal Inquiry

The Egyptian government is investigating the misappropriation of public funds for banned substances by two coaches.

Technical director Mohamed Moussa and coach Mohamed Hosni of the Egyptian national weightlifting team were sent to jail for four days on Sunday December 29th, 2019. As reported by Inside the Games, the sentence came during a government inquiry into their involvement distributing banned substances to team members. The public prosecutor on the inquiry has ordered a fifteen day extension to jail sentences for both coaches while the inquiry remains ongoing.

Moussa and Hosni are facing charges for embezzlement, forging public documents and athlete’s signatures, and misappropriating public funds. Mahmoud Magoub, the President of the Egyptian Weightlifting Federation (EWF) and member of the Executive Board of the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF), also remains subject to investigation despite being cleared of fraud during the inquiry.

In the last three years, thirteen Egyptian weightlifters have failed IWF drug tests, seven of whom were junior athletes.

The scandal has resulted in Egypt’s exclusion from the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan. Several of Egypt’s top athletes in the sport have shared their feelings in regard to the scandal including Shaimaa Khalaf, who placed fourth at the 2016 Olympic Games in the women’s +75kg weight class, and Mohamed Ehab, who claimed the bronze in the 77kg weight class.

Khalaf alleged that the sale of anabolic steroids to team members was not a secret. Team members were given nutritional supplements that contained banned substances over a three year period. Khalaf blames Moussa for Egypt’s exclusion from the 2020 Olympic Games and placed a complaint about these drugs with the sports minister, Ashraf Sobhy, but nothing was done. Sobhy is leading the doping inquiry.

Ehab announced his retirement in September after the IWF announced Egypt’s ban. Despite his retirement, Ehab might still make an impact for Egypt’s return at the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris, France, as Sobhy requested Ehab become the new technical supervisor for the national team.

Historically, weightlifting is Egypt’s most successful Olympic sport; the nation as won fourteen medals, five of which are gold. Egypt’s parliament is aware and concerned about the doping issue and has expressed a need for action to prevent any further drug related complications.

FAQs

Why were the Egyptian weightlifting coaches jailed?

Technical director Mohamed Moussa and coach Mohamed Hosni of the Egyptian national weightlifting team were sent to jail during a government inquiry into their involvement distributing banned substances to team members.

What are the consequences of the doping inquiry?

Not all consequences have been determined as the investigation is ongoing, however Egypt’s exclusion from the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan is confirmed.

Feature image from Mohamed Ehab’s Instagram page: @mohamed_ehab_youssef