Egypt men’s ParaVolley team qualified for the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics after winning the gold medal at the 2019 ParaVolley Africa Zonal Championships. The women, though, will miss Tokyo after they finished second.
The men defeated hosts Rwanda 3-0 (25-6, 25-11, 25-16) in the final of the ParaVolley Africa Sitting Volleyball Championships, proving their supremacy at Kigali’s Petit Stade Amahor.
Algeria defeated Kenya for the bronze medal 3-1 (25-21, 20-25, 25-15, 27-25). In the game for fifth place Morocco defeated South Africa 3-0 (25-22, 25-18, 25-18).
This means the Rio 2016 bronze medalists have qualified to play for another medal at the Paralympics in Japan next year.
Rwanda could not make it a double on home soil after winning the women’s event and booking a Tokyo 2020 spot last week.
“I am very excited with what we achieved as the federation was created only seven months ago,” Emad Ramadan, Egyptian ParaVolley Federation treasurer, said. “Yet we trod over all the challenges and made it to the championship to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics. The players were up to the challenge and they wanted to repeat the 2016 Rio scenario when they won the bronze medal but this time we will try to win the gold if we can.”
Egypt's men team
Ramadan said the women’s team was relatively new and its activities were halted for a while so it was also an achievement to be able to come second after training for only three months. “We expected that the women’s team will finish third but they surprised us all. I promise that within one year, our women’s team will beat all African contenders and will lead the African continent,” Ramadan said.
The Rwandan Women’s Sitting Volleyball team beat Egypt 3-1 (22-25, 28-26, 25-15, 25-18) in the final of the 2019 ParaVolley Africa Sitting Volleyball Championships. From the beginning, the crowd kept their trust in their team and the team wouldn’t disappoint by winning three sets and lifting the trophy.
Hosts Rwanda maintained its record at the championships with four victories. After beating Kenya and Egypt in the three-team round-robin, it defeated the same countries again at Petit Stade Amahoro in Kigali.
Kenya was beaten 25-23, 25-13, 25-14 before the hosts again needed four sets to see off the Egyptians, 25-15, 25-13, 21-25, 25-22. Egypt beat Kenya 3-1 coming from behind to win 24-26, 25-21, 30-28, 25-19. Rwanda was aiming for a second straight Paralympic appearance after competing at Rio 2016.
In recognition of their achievement, Minister of Youth and Sports Ashraf Sobhi received the Egyptian men’s team and promised to provide them with all their needs in their preparations for the Paralympics.
“I congratulate my friends and teammates for qualifying for the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics,” Ashraf Zaghloul, Egyptian ParaVolley captain, said. “We wanted to win all our matches 3-0 to prove that we were and are the African champions forever. We did not allow a team to score more than 10 points and we wanted to show that Egyptians are professionals. A lot of African teams have improved a lot like Kenya and Algeria so we have to work hard to maintain our supremacy.”
The Egyptian team will be preparing to participate in the Continental Champion in China in April in addition to a number of international championships that the team was invited to. The federation is working hard to organise an international championship to take place in Egypt next summer.
*A version of this article appears in print in the 10 October, 2019 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly.