'Val-Gate' saga has nothing on Egyptian time

PETER GRIFFITHS
Last updated 23:47 12/08/2012

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After years of gruelling training, two Egyptian wrestlers crashed out of the Olympics without breaking sweat on today after they were late for the start of their competition.

The pair were disqualified after they arrived late at the wrestling arena on the last day of the Games.

The bouts started at an earlier 8.30am (local time) - rather than the usual 1pm (local time) - because the competition must end before the closing ceremony of the London Olympics later in the day.

It was a sad end to the Games for Abdou Omar Abdou Ahmed, 23, who competes in the 66kg freestyle, and Saleh Emara, 30, a 96kg wrestler.

"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," an Egyptian team spokesman said.

"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. We are calling the administrator to see who is responsible. They should have known."

All the other wrestlers competing for the last two medals turned up on time, a venue spokeswoman said.

The sport's governing body said there was nothing it could do to help the pair.

"We did everything possible to give them all the information they need but it is up to the coach and the country's delegation to make sure their people know all the details," said a spokesman for FILA, the International Federation of Associated Wrestling Styles.

"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."

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- Reuters

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