World Aquatics faces backlash after removing images of 50-metre butterfly world champion, Abdelrahman Sameh, for expressing solidarity with Palestine.
World Aquatics, formerly known as FINA, has taken down photos of world champion Abdelrahman Sameh from their official platforms following his recent comments in support of Palestine.
Sameh, the Egyptian champion who claimed the 50-metre butterfly swimming title, voiced his support for Palestine during a post-victory interview with World Aquatics media, catapulting the issue into the global spotlight.
“Honestly, I don’t know if I should celebrate this or not, my brothers and sisters are being killed in Palestine, [and I’m being threatened] just for the cause I’m standing for,” Sameh said during the interview.
The Egyptian athlete also shed light on the incredible challenges he faced throughout the competition week, which he attributed to his position on Palestine.
Death threats overshadowed his heroic win on Sunday, the third and final day of the second stage of the World Aquatics World Cup at the Athens Olympic Aquatic Centre in Greece.
“it is been a really mentally tough week for me. I have been getting death threats. People have been attacking me all week for supporting Palestine,” the 23-year-old Egyptian said.
“My family goes to sleep not knowing if I am gonna wake up tomorrow, or somebody’s gonna break into my room, somebody’s gonna break into my apartment. And they have to wonder every time I don’t pick up a call if he’s just busy or somebody just tried to kill him,” he said.
The Egyptian national team athlete clinched the gold medal in the 50m butterfly event, clocking a historic time of 23:04 seconds.
He outpaced the global swimming giants including, Australian Isaac Cooper who secured a silver medal and America’s Michael Andrew who claimed bronze.