Egypt has been banned from weightlifting’s World Championships for doping offences – according to state media – and could also be suspended from Tokyo 2020.

Several Egyptian weightlifters were on the entry list for the world championships, which begin in Thailand on Wednesday, but were missing when the competition’s start book was released on Tuesday.

“The ban is for two years and this means that we will not be able to participate in the Olympics,” Sherif El-Erian, the secretary general of Egypt’s Olympic Committee, told Al-Ahram newspaper.

The International Wrestling Federation (IWF) has not confirmed the ban but its rules say any country returning three or more positive tests within a year faces sanction.

In 2016, five Egyptian youngsters, including two 14-year-old girls, failed doping tests at the African Youth and Junior Championships in Cairo.

“Once we receive an official letter regarding the ban, we will do our best to solve the crisis,” added El-Erian.

The World Championships are the most important qualifying event for Tokyo 2020.

Rio 2016 bronze medallists Mohamed Ehab and Sara Ahmed were set to be their nation’s strongest medal contenders in Tokyo.

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