Promising Egyptian wrestler Ahmed Fouad Bagdouda 'flees to France' after African championships

Promising Egyptian wrestler Ahmed Fouad Bagdouda 'flees to France' after African championships
2 min read
24 May, 2023
After winning silver in the African Wrestling Championships in Tunisia, promising Egyptian wrestler Ahmed Fouad Bagdouda fled to France.
Bagdouda (not pictured) won silver in the African Wrestling Championships in Tunisia earlier this month [Getty-file photo]

Egyptian sport has been left reeling after reports emerged this week that 22-year-old wrestler Ahmed Fouad Bagdouda had escaped to France

Bagdouda had just won the silver medal with the Egyptian team at the 2023 African Wrestling Championships held in Tunisia earlier this month when he left his belongings in the hotel room after the tournament, turned his phone off, and secretly made his way to France, according to Egyptian news reports.

Bagdouda applied for a French visa and obtained his passport under the pretext of exchanging currency at the team camp in Hammamet, The New Arab's Arabic-language sister site, Al-Araby Al-Jadeed.

The EWF announced that it would be studying "legal measures" to stop Bagdouda from competing for any other national wrestling federation. 

There have been several high-profile defections of Egyptian sportspeople to other countries in recent years.

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In 2022, the wrestler Mohamed Essam, a former world youth champion, fled to Italy, citing disagreements with the EWF. In the same year, former world number one squash player Mohamed El Shorbagy switched allegiance from Egypt to England. 

Egypt also lost national and African boxing champion Hossam Bakr after the athlete said he no longer wished to be part of the Egyptian national team and was looking for opportunities to box professionally in the United States. 

Egyptian sport has been dogged by allegations of a lack of investment in infrastructure and excessive interference by the state. Athletes in the country are paid little, adding to the difficulties of pursuing sport professionally.