Khaled Korany pictured with the Saudi Arabian weightlifting team after being appointed their new national head coach ©Khaled Korany

Saudi Arabia and Iran have both appointed new national head coaches as their weightlifting teams prepare for the Asian Championships in Jinju, Korea next month.

Khaled Korany, the Egyptian who successfully challenged a lifetime ban from the sport, will take charge of the Saudi team for a second time.

Iran’s new head coach, after the resignation last month of Saeed Alihosseini, is the London 2012 Olympic champion Navab Nasirshelal.

Korany said he was "offered up as a scapegoat" for a doping scandal involving Egyptian teenagers in December 2016.

Having enjoyed a successful spell as head coach in Saudi Arabia he moved to a similar role in Tunisia, only to lose his job when he was provisionally suspended in May 2020.

He was banned from the sport for life in January 2022 for "intentional complicity" and "administering a prohibited substance" but won an appeal at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

During his "nightmare exile" from the sport he continued to receive support from those who knew him, he said.

Among them was Mohammed Alharbi, President of the Saudi Arabia Weightlifting Federation and an Executive Board member of the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF).

"After the ‘innocent’ verdict from the Sports Court and the lifting of the life ban on me, Mr Alharbi, contacted me directly and offered me the idea of returning once again to train the Saudi weightlifting team," Korany said.

London 2012 Olympic champion Navab Nasirshelal has been named the new head coach of the Iranian national weightlifting team ©Getty Images
London 2012 Olympic champion Navab Nasirshelal has been named the new head coach of the Iranian national weightlifting team ©Getty Images

"I accepted after consulting my family, despite the presence of training offers from other countries, and I thank him for that.

"This is precious confidence."

Korany will lead the Saudi team in Korea next month and will then work on preparing the athletes for another important qualifying competition for Paris 2024 - the IWF World Championships in September which, for the first time, will be hosted by Saudi Arabia.

Iran was in need of a new coach when Alihosseini stepped down.

He said his departure was "nothing to do with the election debate" after he gave his support to a rival candidate of the newly elected National Federation President Sajjad Anoushirivani.

Alihosseini said the senior national team was in disarray and lacked support staff.

Anoushirivani worked alongside Nasirshelal, 33, during his time as national head coach.

Both men won medals at London 2012, as did another senior figure in the Iran Federation’s new leadership, Behdad Salimi.

Anoushirivani took silver behind Salimi in the super-heavyweights and Nasirshelal was named 105 kilograms champion after the original "winner" Oleksiy Torokhtiy from Ukraine was disqualified for doping.