Egypt has made history at the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires earlier this month, winning a total of 12 medals (three gold, two silver and seven bronze) for its best ever achievement in the third edition of the games.
The first YOG to be held outside Asia took place from 6-18 October, with Egypt faring well despite a number of problems its delegation has encountered, according to Sherif El-Erian, the secretary-general of the Egyptian National Olympic Committee.
"The YOG was well organized. The playing courts were so close; the arbitration also was very good except in boxing games," El-Erian, who is also the president of the Egyptian Modern Pentathlon Federation, told Ahram Online.
"Boxing has a real problem. There were a lot of bias, prejudice in the arbitration decisions and scoring system. Boxing could be excluded from the 2020 Olympic Games.
"Another problem lied in the food especially in the main restaurant. It wasn't up to the same standard of previous YOG."
Egypt still managed to impress despite sending a small delegation of Olympians in comparison to the 2010 Singapore and 2014 Nanjing Games.
The country was represented by 68 athletes (39 men and 29 women) in 23 sports including boxing, weapons, karate, shooting, modern pentathlon, equestrian, artistic and rhythmic gymnastics, weightlifting, rowing, swimming, bow and arrow, triathlon, table tennis, 3 × 3 basketball, beach volleyball, athletics, football lounges, taekwondo, badminton, wrestling, judo and cycling.
Egypt finished 22nd out of 93 nations in the final medal table.
"We were outstanding. We managed to achieve our target, which was to win between 10 to 12 medals," El-Erian added.
Modern pentathletes Salma Abdel Maksoud won a gold medal at the YOG
Modern pentathletes Salma Abdel Maksoud and Ahmed Osama El-Gendy gave Egypt its first ever gold Olympic medals in modern pentathlon, in both the men and women categories.
The promising 18 years-old Abdel-Maksoud snatched gold with 1,067 points. Her scores were 228 in fencing and riding, 283 in swimming and 556 in laser-run (combined Shooting and running) in the women's individual event.
"I can't believe that I did it. I was so happy and proud to be first the Egyptian girl to achieve a gold Olympic medal in history of modern pentathlon," Abdel-Maksoud said.
"It is a very special win. It is my first gold medal for in an individual event. There was a tough competition between me and my rivals from France, Japan, Spain and Hungary."
In mixed international team relay, Chinese Gu Yemen and El-Gendy claimed the gold medal with 1,168 points. Abdel-Maksoud and Argentina's Franco Serrano won silver with 1,156 points.
"My biggest dream is to qualify for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo," Abdel-Maksoud added.
Osama El-Gendy, 18, also won gold in the men's individual event with 1,179 points. His scores were 268 in fencing, 307 in swimming and 604 in laser-run.
Abdel-Maksoud and El-Gendy won a total of three gold medals and one silver.
"The International Modern Pentathlon Union(UIPM) has chosen El-Gendy as the best pentathlete for 2018, as he also won gold medals at both the U19 UIPM Youth World Championships Portugal and the UIPM Junior World Championships in the Czech Republic," El-Erian said.
Egyptian weightlifter Neama Said won a silver medal
In the women's 58kg contest, Egyptian weightlifter Neama Said won a silver medal with 87kg in snatch, 107kg in clean and jerk, totaling 194kg.
"Said is only 16 years. She was competing in the U17 competition against weightlifters older than her," said Mahmoud Mahgoub, president of the Egyptian Weightlifting Federation and an executive board member of the International Weightlifting Federation.
"She was close to winning the gold medal but Tunisian weightlifter Ghofrane Belkhir snatched it at the end after lifting 1kg more than Said."
In men's 77kg, Egypt's Abdullah Galal Mustafa won bronze with 125kg in snatch, 170kg in clean and jerk, totaling 295 kg.
There was a furious competition between Galal, Armenian Karen Margaryan and Uzbek Kodir Toshtemirov, Mahgoub explained.
"Galal complained of an injury and he could not reach his number in snatch. He lifted only 125kg as he was worried because of the injury," he said.
"But his number was 170 kg in clean and jerk. It's considered the best number ever in this competition.
"Winning an Olympic medal, whether it's gold, silver or bronze, has a special tast," he added.
In the 2010 Singapore and 2014 Nanjing YOG, three Egyptian weightlifters took part. Only two participated in Buenos Aires, with Egypt raising its total weightlifting medals in the history of YOG to five medals.
Egyptian weightlifter Abdullah Galal won the bronze medal
Egyptian player Yasmin El-Gewily also gave the country a first Olympic medal in karate after beating Japanese Rinka Tahata 2-1 in the women's Kumite 53kg final event.
In athletics, hammer thrower Rawan Barakat secured silver in the women's 3kg event. It is Egypt's first female Olympic medal in athletics.
In fencing, Mazen El-Araby clinched the bronze medal in the men's sabre individual competition while swimmer Abdel-Rahman Sameh won a bronze in the men's 50m freestyle. In Taekwondo, athlete Eyad Mahmoud also won bronze in the men's 73kg competition.
Wrestler Ahmed Khalil was another bronze winner in the men's freestyle 110kg event and boxer Ahmed El-Baz got another bronze in the men's super heavy (+91kg). The Egyptian U18 fustal men team took bronze too.
Egyptian athletes won three bronze and one silver medals in mixed NOCs (National Olympic Committees) team. Athletes from different nations would compete in the same team, often representing their continent.
In gymnastics, Zeina Ibrahim took silver and Mohamed Montasser won bronze. There were also bronze medals for Ahmed El-Naggar in equestrian and Mohamed Mostafa in badminton.
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