CAIRO (Reuters) - The family of an Egyptian kung fu champion says he has been banned from representing the country after he showed support for ousted Islamist President Mohamed Mursi during a tournament in Russia, although the government denied the accusation.
In a photo on the state-run Al-Ahram website, Mohamed Youssef was shown on stage in St. Petersburg holding his medal and wearing a t-shirt with a symbol commemorating the pro-Mursi protest camp that was crushed by security forces on August 14, leaving hundreds dead.
The army overthrew Mursi on July 3 and installed an interim government. It has since launched a security crackdown on Mursi's Muslim Brotherhood, arresting more than 2,000 members, including Mursi and other senior leaders. Security forces have killed hundreds of Mursi supporters.
Youssef's brother Hamem told Reuters that he had been stripped of the medal, removed from a list of eligible kung fu players in the sport's national federation, and told he could not represent Egypt in future tournaments.
Mohamed Youssef himself was not immediately available for comment.
When asked about the case, Sports Minister Taher Abu Zeid said Youssef had not been prohibited from representing Egypt - although he did not mention the medal or the federation.
Zeid told Reuters that he had asked the ministry to conduct an investigation into the incident, but added that if the sportsman had displayed the yellow four-fingered "Rabaa" hand symbol "it was a wrong way to conduct himself".
(Reporting by Abdel Rahman Youssef in Alexandria and Michael Georgy and Shadia Nasralla in Cairo; Writing by Maggie Fick; Editing by Alison Williams)