The case of Ihab Abdelrahman’s failed doping test has taken a shocking turn as members of the Egyptian sporting community, along with the javelin thrower himself and Egyptian Athletics Federation president Walid Ata accusing the Egyptian National Olympic Committee (NOC) of framing him.
Abdelrahman, a silver medallist at last year’s World Championships in Beijing and a strong medal contender for Egypt in Rio next month, tested positive for testosterone in a test that was conducted three months ago by the local anti-doping organisation in Egypt (NADO). He is currently suspended and will miss the Rio Olympics if his ‘B’ sample also gives a positive result.
The announcement of the positive result of his ‘A’ sample was made on Sunday, just five days after Abdelrahman had publicly criticised the Egyptian NOC for refusing to allow his coach to travel with him to Rio and assigning a “problematic” coach – or athletics chef de mission – instead.
Ata, the athletics federation president, took to Facebook shortly after the news broke, hitting out at the NOC and accusing them of foul play.
“The world-class Ihab Abdelrahman, who has made Egyptian, Arab, African, and international history is CLEAN and is above any kind of suspicion,” Ata wrote.
“He has been tested, in and out of competition, more than 60 times and he never goes more than a month without getting blood-tested. Yet when he gets tested here, in Egypt, his test comes positive?
“You people are not getting your revenge against Walid Ata or Ihab Abdelrahman or the athletics family, but your malevolence, hate and envy has led to you to get your revenge against Egypt, and you assassinated the happiness of the people of an entire country that was only a few days away from happening.”
Egypt’s weightlifting champion Mohamed Ehab echoed Ata’s words, also blaming foul play on the NOC’s behalf, and alleging that he was on the receiving end of the same treatment four years ago ahead of London 2012.
A host of Egyptian sports stars took to social media supporting Ata’s claims.
Abdelrahman’s ‘B’ sample is being tested in Barcelona and he has requested to travel to Spain and see the handling of his sample himself.
Egyptian NOC president Hisham Hatab described the allegations against his organisation as “rubbish” and insists that there was no wrong-doing on their part.
“Of course we are very sad about this situation but what can we do? We are behind him and if there’s anything we can do to help him we won’t hesitate to do it. We hope that his ‘B’ sample is negative. If it’s positive then everyone has to bear responsibility for their mistakes,” Hatab told BBC Arabic.
Asked about the accusations of retaliation from the NOC, Hatab said: “It’s rubbish and has no legal or logical basis. First of all, the entity that takes the sample is a neutral entity, the Egyptian National Anti-Doping Organisation, that is an affiliate of an international organisation that is the World Anti-Doping Agency. Secondly, the substances that he takes and that gave positive results in his test, he signed on a paper admitting that he takes such substances, including food supplements and testosterone.
“If he or the federation have a complaint, then they should go and file a complaint to the International Olympic Committee, and the IAAF and WADA. I personally, as the head of the Egyptian NOC, find it in my best interest if he competes in Rio and gets a medal, he was a strong contender for a medal. So all logic says that we would work hard for a medal and not otherwise. And if people claim that we were involved in that, then let us know how we were involved in this.”
Hatab went on to slam the Egyptian Athletics Federation, adding: “The way the Egyptian Athletics Federation operates is flawed and their leadership is wrong and the proof is that their hammer thrower Hassan Abdelgawad was banned for two and half years for testing positive for testosterone.
“Their other athlete, Moustafa El Gamal, the hammer thrower has a leg injury and they haven’t been able to inform us for the past six months and they only informed us yesterday that he cannot travel. And their athlete, Ihab Abdelrahman now fails a doping test. So when you find three athletes that have issues, then the actual athletics organisation must be flawed and has poor management.”