Egypt Judo champ now playing the date game
An Egyptian Judo, sumo and powerlifting champion has been forced to become a street vendor after not being able to find a job in his field or in the government, local news has reported.
Mohammad Ramadan told Dream TV that, after winning various national championships he has no choice but to sell dates in the street because of the lack of job opportunities.
"I've been the national champion a number of times in various disciplines. Most recently, in the judo nationals, I came in second and third in open weight - and I now sell dates," Ramadan said.
"There are no jobs, I've applied to the governor many times and he told me that he'd get me a job - but nothing ever came out of it," the judoka added.
He went on: "Outside of Egypt they take care of their sportsmen much better than this. Individual sports are completely dead in Egypt."
Ramadan, who comes from the poor southern province of Sohag, said that he has only received 100 Egyptian pounds ($12) in prize money for his three wins.
Popular TV talk show presenter Wael Ibrashi commented on Ramadan's situation, saying the medals on his neck were a "mark of shame" on Egyptian society.
"Is it possible that Egypt or some officials have reached this level of neglect that they have begun to destroy their own people?"
He added: "The whole world venerates its champions who make their countries proud. But in Egypt we've turned gold into firewood because we don't understand the value of champions."
Thirty-eight percent of Egyptian young people are unemployed.
The former prime minister recently said that Egypt's young people should not think about opening cafes but rather consider driving tuktuks as their professions.
Egypt has a history of international success in combat sports and weightlifting.
Hesham Mesbah won a bronze medal in Judo in the 2008 Olympic Games and Mohamed Ali Rashwan won silver in 1984 in a historic bout with an injured Yasuhiro Yamashita.
In August, Egyptian sumo wrestler Ramy al-Gazzar won the US Sumo Open with a shock defeat against Mongolian legend Byambajar "Byamba" Ulambayar.