Seven Egyptian weightlifters have tested positive for doping at the African Youth and Junior Championships according to a report by Inside the Games. Included in the positive tests are two 14-year-olds.
Upon hearing of the news, Egypt withdrew from the IWF Junior World Championships taking place right now in Tokyo, Japan.
Mahmoud Mahjoub, President of the Egyptian Weightlifting Federation (EWF), told Reuters, “There is a conspiracy against the Egyptian Federation.” Egypt’s National Anto-Doping Committee conducted an internal investigation that concluded a dessert was possibly tainted by someone upset with the EWF.
It will now be up to the IWF to investigate and determine if desserts were in fact the reason behind the positive tests. If they are not, Egypt will likely face a hefty suspension.
The news comes at a bad time for the IWF and the sport of weightlifting. The International Olympic Committee just announced a reduction of weight categories and athlete quotas for Olympic Weightlifting at the 2020 Olympics. The IWF also formed special working committees to address anti-doping and the IOC’s mandates.
Egypt is not new to failed doping tests. Three weightlifters, all female, have failed drug tests over the past four years.
The IWF Executive Board has yet to determine the length of suspensions for the nine nations that had three or more positive tests as part of the IOC’s Olympic Retesting program. The expectation is that the suspensions will be announced at the September meeting.
The nine nations in question are Kazakhstan (10), Russia (10), Belarus (7), Azerbaijan (5), Armenia (4), China (3), Moldova (3), Turkey (3) and Ukraine (3). The number of failed tests are in parentheses.