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Egypt’s gold medalist Ahmed Ragab crushing his Jordanian opponent Tarek Al-Jeidi photo: Mohamed Maher
Ahmed Beshir celebrating the gold medal in the 25m. shotpot event
Egyptian volleyballers blocking one of Tunisia’s attacks in their final match photo: Mohamed Mustafa
Egypt came in first place with a total of 35 medals in the Third Arab Champions for Juniors, Cadets and Under 21. The competition was good preparation for Egyptian players ahead of the World Juniors, Cadets and U-21 championship in Indonesia next November.
“These Pharaohs are the champions of the future and the nucleus of the senior national team,” declared Mustafa Fekry, Egyptian Karate Federation (EKF) board member and head of the media committee. “They need to train hard and compete against other players at such events to give them more experience.”
Fourteen countries participated in the championship hosted by Egypt on 1-2 August, including Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Algeria, Iraq, Tunisia, Morocco, Somalia, Qatar, Sudan, Libya, Lebanon, Jordon and Palestine (represented by one referee). The coming Arab Championship for Juniors, Cadets and Under 21 will be held in Algeria
EKF President Ayman Abdel-Hamid said the large number of participants “sends a message to the world just a few days ahead of the inauguration of the New Suez Canal that Egypt is safe and welcomes everyone, and opens its arms to all Arab countries.” Abdel Hameed also thanked Minister of Youth and Sports Khaled Abdel-Aziz for his continuous support of EKF and the players, which has made Egypt one of the world’s top countries in the sport.
Prior to the championship, there were training courses for Arab referees and coaches, as well as a meeting of executives from the Arab Karate Federation (AKF) headed by Ibrahim Al-Qanas, deputy president of the AKF and President of the Saudi Karate Federation. Al-Qanas told Al-Ahram Weekly that Arab countries have agreed to work together to enhance Arab performance at international and world sports, with special focus on talented players and referees. The AKF official thanked Egypt and the Egyptian Federation for hosting the event and making it a success.
Egypt’s 35 medals include 24 gold, four silver and eight bronze. It is followed by Saudi Arabia with three gold, four silver and ten bronze; and Kuwait with three gold, three silver and eight bronze.
Egypt won all the gold medals in the kata division, including male and female, in juniors, cadets and U-21. The winners included Islam Ahmed, Zeinab Ihab, Mohamed Ali, Asmaa Magdi and Ahmed El-Katbi.
In a remarkable feat, Egypt’s Special Olympics team headed home from Los Angeles after winning 55 medals in the 2015 Special Olympics World Summer Games. Some 68 athletes won 15 gold medals, 23 silver and 17 bronze.
Egyptian athletes included eight swimmers, ten hand ball players, four competitive weight lifters, four table tennis players, eight track and field athletes, four tennis players, two badminton players, eight basketball ball players, two Bocce rollers, two bowlers, four horse riders, and 12 soccer players.
Some 7,000 athletes with intellectual disabilities from a 170 countries competing in 25 Olympic-type sports at the 14thinstallment of the Special Olympics. Egypt’s delegation was led by experienced coach Mustafa Shabana, squash champion Amr Shabana’s father and Amr Al-Tahawi, deputy head of delegation and swimming coach.
“Our mentally disabled athletes did their best to win that many medals,” commented El-Tahawi. “This year’s games were more competitive than in the past because the abilities of athletes from around the world greatly improved, and they were given much attention. Ours did not have enough time for a closed training camp, so their achievements are remarkable.”
Abdel-Aziz sent a congratulatory letter to the Special Olympics athletes for their strong performance. The athletes were also recognised at a banquet hosted by Egyptian Counselor to Los Angeles Al-Husseini Abdel-Wahab.
Special Olympics MENA President and Managing Director Ayman Abdel-Wahab, praised the performance of the Egyptian athletes and the MENA region programmes in general. “It is truly a blessing that middle East countries are able to participate in theses games despite ongoing upheavals in most regional countries, such as the Palestine delegation being blocked from travelling although they were ready to compete.”
Abdel-Wahab urged all MENA countries to pay special attention to the mentally disabled by opening new training centres to help the greatest number of athletes train and have equal opportunities. More than 200 million people worldwide have an intellectual disability, making it the largest disability group worldwide. Intellectual disability crosses racial, ethnic, educational, social and economic lines, and can occur in any family.
The Los Angeles games marked the first time in 16 years that the Special Olympics returned to the US. “These Games change the lives of people around the world who are mistreated and excluded because they’re different,” stated Patrick McClenahan, president and CEO of LA2015, the Games organising committee.
Egypt’s national volleyball team won their eighth African title by defeating Tunisia 3-0 (26-24, 25-18, 25-21) in the final of the 2015 Men’s African Nations Championship at Cairo Stadium. Both Egypt and Tunisia secured spots at the FIVB Volleyball World Cup Japan 2015 which be held in September 8-23, by winning their semifinal matches against Morocco and Algeria in the semi-finals, respectively.
Newly appointed Italian head coach Angelo Frigoni was excited about the team’s performance. “I am satisfied and happy with what I achieved with the Egyptian national team,” Ferjoni said. “In just a short time, I was able to win with the team the Arab championship and rank in a good place in the World League. And now, the African championship.”
Team star Ahmed Salah led Egyptian scorers with 14 points, followed by Mohamed Abdel-Moneim with nine points. On the Tunisian side, Mohamed Ben Othman led scorers with nine points followed by Marouen Garci with eight.
“Words can’t express my joy with this achievement,” declared Egyptian Volleyball Federation and Local Organising Committee President Fouad Abdel-Salam. “Our players trained and prepared well for the competition and met the challenge. They were also supported by huge numbers of fans who poured into the stands to boost their confidence.”
Egypt is the first African country to win six consecutive African titles. The other titles came in 1976, 1983, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2011 and 2013.Morocco came in third place and won the bronze medal match by defeating Algeria 3-1 (21-25, 25-19, 25-21, 25-20). The awards ceremony was attended by CAVB President Amr Elwani; Assistant Sports Minister Ashraf Sobhi; and Abdel-Salam.
Abdel-Aziz praised the players and fans for their superior performance, and the message they sent to the world that Egypt is present on the arena. Abdel-Aziz also urged the players to do their best to win a good place at the World Cup in Japan.
Egypt’s players were included in the honour roll, including Best Server when to Abdel-Halim Abdou; Best Receiver Mohamed Abdel-Moneim; Best Blocker Mohamed Adel; and Most Valuable Player Ahmed Salah.