In a glamorous ceremony, the Egyptian Handball Federation (EHF) signed the contract that will give Egypt the hosting rights to the next World Seniors Championship to be held in January 2021, reports Inas Mazhar.
President of the EHF Hisham Nasr signed the contract together with the president of the International Handball Federation (IHF) Hassan Mustafa. Attending the signing was Egypt’s Minister of Youth and Sports Ashraf Sobhi, President of the National Olympic Committee Hesham Hatab and board members of the respective associations.
Egypt last hosted the World Seniors Championship in 1999, finishing seventh out of 24 teams.
Egypt had reached a high of fourth in the tournament in Paris 2001. The country finished eighth in the last edition held earlier this year in Spain.
“We are all gathered here today to witness the signing of the contract which officially declares us as hosts of this edition of the World Championship in 2021,” Sobhi said. “This will make us the first country to host the three-week event in its new version which sees the participation of 32 teams instead of 24, marking another challenge for Egyptian sports and its authorities. However, this challenge is sort of a motivation for delivering another successful sports event after the spectacular Africa Cup of Nations which Egypt hosted this summer.
“Naming Egypt the organiser of the 2021 edition of the World Seniors Championship by the IHF is a vote of confidence from the international body in the nation’s capabilities and potential to host handball’s first and biggest event, based on the experience of hosting the 1993 Juniors World Championship, which Egypt had also won, in addition to regional, continental and international handball competitions.
“The head of state, Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi, has been issuing directives to the government to ensure the World Championship receives all the required support and facilities in all sectors, be they technical, administrative and logistics and has the most professional calibers in the field to ensure bringing out an amazing event.
“From our part, we are in regular coordination with EHF officials to guarantee that the indoor halls are renovated as we did with football. We will be following up on the ongoing preparations on the halls on a monthly basis to confirm that all is going according to schedule,” Sobhi added.
Handball fans and the public will soon witness the inauguration of a new indoor hall at the New Administrative Capital, designed according to IHF requirements and which is one of the main halls set to host the World Championship, in addition to the Cairo Stadium Indoor Complex in Cairo, Sobhi said.
Before the signing of the world championship contract, officials and media witnessed the laying of the foundation stone of the new headquarters of the Egyptian Handball Federation.
*A version of this article appears in print in the 10 October, 2019 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly.