Tuesday,21 August, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1180, (16-22 January 2014)
Tuesday,21 August, 2018
Issue 1180, (16-22 January 2014)

Ahram Weekly

Back on the mat

World wrestling champion Mohamed Abdel-Fattah returned after reconsidering his decision to retire, Ghada Abdel-Kader reports

Al-Ahram Weekly

Egyptian world wrestling champion Mohamed Abdel-Fattah, known as ‘Bogy’, had announced his retirement from wrestling after 18 years. The 36-year-old Greco-roman wrestler made the announcement 10 days ago. But he made a sudden U-turn after meeting President of the Egyptian Olympic Committee (EOC) Khaled Zeineddin and the head of the military sports institute General Magdi Al-Lozi. “They persuaded me that I still had more to give,” Abdel-Fattah told Al-Ahram Weekly. “Zeineddin had several contacts with US officials in the Olympic Committee to obtain a training grant in America. Al-Lozi promised me that I will have the full support of the military establishment. I will be treated as a military player and trained in military clubs. I will get a salary from them. They will provide me with what I need.”
Abdel-Fattah has been representing Egypt in tournaments across the world. He was the 2006 world champion after winning a gold medal at the 2006 FILA Wrestling World Championships in Guangzhou, China in the 84kg weight category. Egypt has not participated in this championship in 56 years. He beat Russian Alexei Mishin, the 2004 Olympic gold medalist, in the quarter-finals, and Turkish Nazmi Avlucca, the 2008 Olympic bronze medalist in the final.
Abdel-Fattah won more than 70 medals in international championships. He also took several gold Grand Prix medals and honourary awards.
He qualified for three Olympics – Sydney 2000, Athens 2004 and London 2012. In Sydney he finished in eighth place in the men’s Greco-Roman 85kg class category. In Athens Abdel-Fattah contested the result of his fight in the knockout round and was later disqualified in the 84 kg class. In London 2012, he did not advance to round 16 in the 96 kg.
Abdel-Fattah had initially decided to quit due for several reasons. “I was aspiring to achieve a medal at the FILA (International Federation of Associated Wrestling Styles) World Championship in Budapest, Hungary from 16-22 September 2013 and to qualify for the 2016 Olympics Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It was my dream to win a medal in the Olympics.
“Unfortunately, I was injured in training; tendon inflammation of the left shoulder.
“I was totally frustrated and desperate. I felt that all the doors were closed. Also, the political situation has a big impact on sport. I don’t have any other sources of income. I don’t have any sponsors. I took leave without pay. I play in the Egyptian Police Sports Federation but my club did not sign any contract with me. Wrestling is an individual sport. Not everybody knows about the rules of the sport. People don’t follow the sport unless a wrestler achieves a big victory. Only then do people start to know about him.”
President of the Egyptian Wrestling Federation (EWF) Hassan Haddad offered Abdel-Fattah the coaching post of the Egyptian team but Abdel-Fattah turned it down. “I found it was not the suitable time for this. The EWF has some financial problems. I can’t do everything on my own. I need a whole team to work together in order to achieve good results.”
Bogy received several offers from Norway and the US to coach their national teams. “I refused because there is no stability. The contracts are not renewed for long time and no tempting financial offers.”
Abdel-Fattah went to the EWF headquarters to withdraw his resignation and has since resumed training regularly. “I am not getting ready for any championships. I am going to spend more time in practice. There is a meeting in EWF to prepare for the calendar of championships that I will be in.”
 “I presented a proposal to EWF President Al-Haddad to host an international championship in my name, to be approved internationally by FILA and under the supervision of the EWF. It will be held annually. Wrestlers from the world will compete.”

Bogy’s highlights:

Abdel-Fattah started wrestling at the age of six in Al-Simad Club. He was born in a family that loves sports. His father was a soccer coach in Suez City Club. Abdel-Fattah’s first championship, the 1986 schools tournament, he came in second place. He was the best and youngest participant in the tournament. At 17, he joined the Egyptian national team. In 1996, he won gold medals at the Arab Junior Cup in Cairo 1996, Arab Junior Cup in Syria 1997 and the African Nations Cup in Cairo 1998. He won a bronze medal in the Junior World Championship in Cairo in 1998.
In 1999, he won gold medals at the African Games in South Africa (freestyle), Arab Games in Jordan and King’s Championship in Jordan. In 2000, he won bronze medals at the Grand prix Final in Italy and the French Open in France. He won gold medals at the African Championship in Tunisia and Grand prix in Alexandria. He came in fifth place at the Russia Open in Moscow. At the end of 2000, Abdel-Fattah was ranked third in the FILA world rankings.
 In 2001, he garnered gold medals at the Africa Championship in Morocco, Arab Championship in Syria, Austria Open, World Cup in France, Ibrahim Mustafa tournament in Cairo and Mediterranean Games in Tunisia. In 2002, he took gold medals at the Diamond Championship in Germany, Ibrahim Mustafa in Alexandria, Africa Championship in Cairo and World Cup in Cairo. He won a bronze medal at World Championship in Moscow. He finished fourth in the Poland Open 2003. In 2004, he snatched gold medals at the Grand Prix in Hungary and All Arab Games in Algeria. In 2005, he took gold medals at the Mediterranean Games in Almeria and David Cup in the US. In 2006, he collected a gold medal at the World Championship in Guangzhou, China.
Abdel-Fattah suffered an injury that kept him away from the wrestling mat for almost two years. In 2010 he made an impressive comeback winning a gold medal at the African Championships in Cairo. The following year he won a silver medal in the Golden Grand Prix in Baku and another silver at the Golden Grand Prix in Tbilisi 2011 and gold at the Mediterranean Games in Istanbul, Turkey 2010. In the 2011 World Championship, Abdel-Fattah came in fifth in the 96kg class to qualify for the 2012 Olympic Games. He finished in fifth place at the World Championship in Istanbul.

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