Sunday,19 August, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1278, (14 - 20 January 2016)
Sunday,19 August, 2018
Issue 1278, (14 - 20 January 2016)

Ahram Weekly

Gone the grappler

Egypt’s Olympic gold medal wrestler Karam Gaber retires

Al-Ahram Weekly

Although Egyptian wrestler Karam Gaber announced more than once that he will retire, this time it seems it’s the real deal following a two-year suspension for an anti-doping violation.

Gaber was suspended in August 2015 for two years, which means he will miss the golden chance to participate in the 2016 Rio De Janeiro Olympics.

United World Wrestling suspended Gaber, 35, after he failed to fulfill the whereabouts requirement for drug testing.

The Egyptian Wrestling Federation was also fined 20,000 Swiss francs (around LE160,000) after Gaber had been charged to have either failed to file required whereabouts information or missed the doping tests.

After the gold medal (96kg) in Athens in 2004, Gaber won a silver at the London 2012 Olympics, becoming the first Egyptian grappler to win two Olympic medals, making him the greatest Egyptian Olympian of all time.

It was also the second gold medal for Egypt in Greco-Roman wrestling since the 1928 Summer Olympics.

Gaber won the gold with a gap of 12 points (12-1) at the 2004 Olympics against Ramaz Nozadze of Georgia in an historic match.

He won the silver medal in the Greco-Roman event (84kg) after losing to Russia’s Alan Khugaev.

He was Egypt’s flagbearer at the opening ceremony of the 2008 Olympics. However, he failed to qualify for the quarter-finals in Beijing.

“I thought I should retire after winning the gold in Athens, especially since the income of individual sports in Egypt is not enough for a stable life. But one year before the London Games I came under a lot of pressure to return to the sport and my performance was evidence that I still had a lot to give.”

But according to Hassan Al-Hadad, head of the Egyptian Wrestling Federation, Gaber is preparing for a big retirement party sponsored by Al-Ahram.

“He will start postgraduate studies in wrestling and fitness to improve himself and then get a certificate that will allow him to work as a coach in the near future,” Al-Hadad said.

Al-Hadad described Gaber as a “big name” in wrestling and well known all over the world. “It will be great if he starts working hand in hand with the Egyptian federation to train its youth team and prepare wrestlers for the 2020 Olympics in Japan to be as talented as he.

“Karam Gaber is a talented wrestler that even the US would like to have as an experienced coach to train their Greco-Roman team which is very weak. We have to take advantage of his talent, especially after an agreement was reached between the player and the federation under which he will pay all his debts and will take all the money he is owed, then start as our technical coach.

“For years the Ministry of Sports spent millions to prepare Gaber for the Olympics and it is now time for him to invest in our youth wrestlers,” added Al-Hadad.

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