Egyptian athletes given 'fake Nike gear' by Olympic officials
Swimmer says 'Nike' bags came with Adidas zippers and athletes had to buy replacements
IT'S A problem that thousands of Western tourists in Egypt have encountered, and now even the Egyptian Olympic Committee seem to have fallen victim to an unscrupulous salesman after it was claimed a contractor handed out knock-off Nike kit to athletes heading for London 2012.
The Daily Telegraph reported that the EOC "chose a vendor for its athletes' training and village wear who supplied counterfeit clothing bearing the Nike brand".
Synchronised swimmer Yomna Khallaf confirmed the claims on Twitter. "The bags for example have a big Nike logo in the front and the zippers are Adidas," she revealed.
She later added that she and other competitors had been forced to shell out on genuine gear. "It's so frustrating that we had to pay an extra 2,000 [Egyptian] pounds to have other proper stuff to wear so that we can [just] look okay - not even good."
Another Cairo-based tweeter, Karim Souka, reported: "The synchronised swimming, swimming and gymnastics teams bought their own gear! But the rest can't afford to."
The story was covered by Cairo-based football journalist Mohamed Seif who also took to Twitter to vent his frustrations. "It's a farce. It's the Olympics!! This is a humiliation to the whole delegation, and you shouldn't be paying for it," he told Khallaf.
Many others blamed the authorities and accused them of buying the fake gear on purpose because it was so cheap.
Rumours are now swirling that Nike is set to sue the Egyptian Olympic Committee. The sportswear manufacturer told The Daily Telegraph it had written to the Egyptian Olympic body demanding that they "take immediate action" over the claims, and had also been in contact with its official supplier in the country.
It added: "Nike was recently made aware that the Egyptian Olympic Committee (EOC) chose a vendor for its athletes' training and village wear who is alleged to have supplied counterfeit footwear and apparel bearing the Nike trademarks.
"Nike is highly concerned that if these allegations are true, the athletes will have received products that do not meet Nike's quality standards."