Egypt’s Minister of Youth and Sports, Ashraf Sobhi, revealed on 26 May that the country’s Wrestling Federation was referred to the Public Prosecution for investigation following the abrupt departure of wrestler Ahmed Baghdouda to France.
The Public Prosecution is yet to make a statement.
Baghdouda’s surprise decision, which caused a social media stir, came shortly after his silver-medal-winning performance in this year’s African Wrestling Championships held in Tunisia from 15 May to 21 May.
Sobhi also formed a ministerial committee to further probe the matter.
The ongoing investigation comes after news surfaced that the young wrestler was awarded EGP 16,000 (USD 517) by the country for his achievement. Fouad Baghouda, the athlete’s father, later shared in a television interview that his son only received EGP 1200 (USD 38) after tax deductions and debt repayment.
The Ministry of Finance issued a detailed report on 23 May clarifying that Baghdouda’s financial compensation for the tournament amounted to EGP 18,000 (USD 582) before deductions.
The deductions consisted of EGP 13,680 (USD 442) to transfer over to the sports ministry’s national talent project from his previous centre in Kafr Al-Sheikh and a 13 percent taxation.
Baghouda also receives a monthly gross income of EGP 3,000 (USD 97) for his time training and preparing for tournaments.
Baghdouda’s decision to depart the country garnered sympathy from many Egyptians, who took to social media to question the government’s lack of support for athletes.
Sobhi’s announcement also addressed athletes, assuring them of their value.
“We stand with all our champion athletes at the African, international, and Olympic levels,” declared the Minister, sharing that sponsorship programs are being prepared for more support.
President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi issued directives to the National Training Academy (NTA) to extend an invitation to the young wrestler for guidance. The NTA hopes to provide Baghdouda with “a training and rehabilitation grant as a promising sports talent,” the statement reads.