Hands down, the Egyptians have formed the most active Arab community on social media when it comes to supporting their national Olympic team.
They constantly ask for updates and voice their thoughts on all sorts of news, by criticizing ugly uniforms, sending genuine wishes to their athletes or commenting on national scandals. Last weekend, the Egyptian community was stirred by the doping accusations facing their javelin thrower Ihab Abdelrahman, Egypt's first IAAF World Championship medalist.
Abdelrahman was headed for his second Olympic Games in Rio next month, before the Egyptian National Anti-Doping Organization – a government-funded organization responsible for testing athletes – provisionally suspended him, according to Sport360 .
The NADO declared that Abdelrahman’s A sample, which was taken in April, tested positive for two types of external sources of testosterone. The B sample will be tested in Barcelona this week and its result will determine whether or not Abdelrahman will partake in Rio 2016.
While the news itself is rather shocking, the Egyptian people’s reaction stands out.
Many athletes, officials and sports fans asserted their belief that Abdelrahman is clean, trending the hashtag ايهاب_عبدالرحمن_فوق_الشبهات # (Ihab Abdelrahman is above reproach). Their faith stems from Abdelrahman’s ongoing conflict with the National Olympic Committee concerning the coach and head of athletics delegation traveling to Rio, pushing people to doubt the doping allegations.
Many guaranteed that Abdelrahman is a decent athlete
Others were skeptical
Saying Abdelrahman was tested five times since that positive sample and questioning why the results took three months to be revealed, as they should take no longer than a month. The conflict between the president of the athletics federation and that of the Olympic committee may have put a target on Abdelrahman's back for siding with the federation.
President of the Egyptian Athletics Federation, Waleed Ata, supported Abdelrahman on social media as well
"World-class Ihab Abdelrahman, who has made Egyptian, Arab, African and world athletics history, is clean beyond any doubt. He has been tested, in and out of competition, more than 60 times and he never goes more than a month without getting blood-tested. Yet when he gets tested here, in Egypt, his test comes positive?"
Then the conspiracy theorists joined in
Believing there's a plot against the athletics federation... and the entire country.
This guy has had enough
"It serves some people's interests to hold back Egyptian sports. Federations and the ministry are failures and the state is undeveloped..."
But this guy was optimistic
This Egyptian boxing World Champion knows what it's like to be in Abdelrahman's shoes
"I'm certain of Ihab Abdelrahman's innocence. I have a personal experience with Dr. Ossama Ghneim, president of the NADO, which would strip the agency of its credibility. Witnesses can confirm."
So does this World Weightlifting Championship double medalist
Who faced a similar situation before the London Olympics.
This page blames the lack of specialists monitoring athletes' intake
While this guy spoke the ultimate truth
"For some, their only fault is being born in the wrong place."
In his defense, Abdelrahman denied all allegations against him, claiming he has not taken any prohibited substances and only consumed the usual supplements he has been taking for years. His tests from January and May returned negative results, and since steroids remain in the body for three months, he says it is unlikely for samples from April to contain enhancers.
"How can it be that the only positive sample, the one taken in April, was transferred by the Egyptian agency? I don't have anything against them, but this is unbelievable," he said, according to El-Ahly . "I feel like I'm in a nightmare I will wake up from at any moment."
Abdelrahman has refused to let the second sample be analyzed in his absence and demanded delaying the analysis until he gets to Spain.
He has won the 2015 IAAF World and 2008 IAAF Junior World Championship silvers, plus the 2014 IAAF Continental Cup and 2010 African Championship golds, so there is no doubt Abdelrahman was a serious contender for a medal in Rio.