Algerian wrestlers dodge homebound flight at German airport after Mediterranean Beach Games
Mohammed Islam Gouadma and Yahia Gacim were part of an Algerian team catching a connecting flight to Algeria from Frankfurt airport on Thursday, after competing at the Mediterranean Beach Games.
But the two athletes did not board the flight to Algeria, Rizki Ait Houssine, director of the national wrestling team told German news agency dpa.
"We noticed that they did not board the plane heading to Algeria," Houssine said.
The athletes possessed Schengen visas for the tournament, so remained in Europe legally.
Houssine said Gouadma and Gacim's teammates had spoken to them, and they told them that they were well, but provided no other information.
Citing an unnamed source at the wrestling federation, The New Arab’s Arabic-language sister site, Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, reported that the two wrestlers told their teammates after the flight that they were convinced that they had made the right decision by not boarding the flight.
Houssine said there was no prior indicator that the wrestlers would not be boarding the flight to Algeria.
"They took part in the competition in complete calm and without any problems," Houssine said.
The wrestling federation head said he feared the two athletes’ escape would set a precedent for other athletes to use sporting tournaments as a means of fleeing their home countries.