Last updated: 12 August, 2012

Egyptian wrestlers forfeit Olympic match after time mix-up

Two Egyptian wrestlers saw their dream of competing at the London Olympics evaporate without stepping onto the mat after forfeiting their opening contests in a mix-up over times on Sunday.

Abdou Omar Abdou Ahmed and Saleh Emara lost their first-round matches in the 66 and 96kg classes respectively on Sunday, the final day of the 2012 Games.

The programme started at 8.30am local time (0730GMT), in a bid to get everything completed well before the start of the closing ceremony, while the previous seven days of Olympic wrestling at London’s Excel Arena had commenced at 1pm (1200GMT).

A spokesman for the Egyptian Olympic team said: “What happened is that they were expecting to arrive at mid-day to start the competition at 1pm.

“They thought they were wrestling at 1pm like normal, but because of the closing ceremony they changed the timing to 8.30am and the team didn’t know about it.

“It was in the booklet but they didn’t see it, and because of that they were a little bit late.

“We know it is our mistake. We are investigating the matter now,” the spokesman added.

“We are calling the administrator to see who is responsible. They should have known. We will know who is responsible in a couple of hours.”

A spokesman for the sport’s governing body, FILA (International Federation of Associated Wrestling Styles) said: “I am sorry that they could not take part, but if they don’t come to the venue on time, they can’t take part.

“We did everything possible to give them all the information they need, but it’s up to the coach and the country’s delegation to make sure their people know all the details.

“There are so many athletes and we can’t follow all of them.”

Neither of the two Egyptians was considered to be a gold medal prospect.