Egyptian Member of Parliament says there has been “a wave of anger” from weightlifters and coaches after the appointment of Mahmoud Mahgoub to a new leadership role in the sport.
The MP John Talaat has made a formal request for an explanation from the Minister of Youth and Sport Ashraf Sobhy, who chose Mahgoub to head a new Weightlifting Management Committee.
Mahgoub was President of the Egyptian Weightlifting Federation during two doping scandals in 2016 and 2019, and was questioned – and cleared – during a Government investigation into corruption after a huge stash of nutritional supplements was impounded by customs authorities in 2018.
The first of those doping scandals led to Egypt being banned from the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games and the second resulted in the federation being “frozen” by Egypt’s Olympic Committee (EOC) a year ago.
Mahgoub, who sits on the Executive Board of the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF), has responded by saying he is the right man for the job and has vowed to do all he can to overturn Egypt’s Olympic ban.
Mohamed Ihab, the superstar weightlifter who announced his retirement when Egypt was banned a year ago, is training hard and ready to return to action, says Mahgoub.
He said Egypt was treated unfairly by the IWF during the corrupt reign of Tamás Aján and has high hopes of overturning a two-year suspension in the Swiss federal court.
Mahgoub says Aján never explained why there was a delay of more than two-and-a-half years between seven young athletes testing positive in December 2016 and Egypt being banned.
Egypt made no headway with its “conspiracy” arguments concerning the seven positives when an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) failed last December, two months after a two-year suspension was imposed.
That was before the McLaren Report into weightlifting corruption in June and Mahgoub, suspecting more foul play, has renewed hope.
He believes Aján, who resigned in April, was persuaded to delay triggering Egypt’s punishment “by countries that were not happy with our many medals at major championships”.