Egypt’s modern penathletes Haidy Adel and Sherif Nazeir won firsts and gold medals in competition at the African Championships Saturday. The competition took place at the Platinum Club in Fifth Settlement, New Cairo. The African Championships is a qualifying event for the Tokyo Olympics Games 2020.
Adel told Ahram Online, “It is a good start for my new season 2019. I am dying of joy. I can’t believe that I am qualified. I did it!”
“My family were big supporters for me, especially my mum. She is my technical director. I couldn't do it without her love, care and support,” added Adel.
Adel’s mother, Samia Gad, smiled, saying: “I can’t stop my tears from falling. The competition was so tough. My daughter deserved to win today. She worked very hard.”
President of the Egyptian Modern Pentathlon Federation (EMPF) Sherif El-Arian said: “We are competing against ourselves. All African countries are afraid to compete against us. Beating our team will be a difficult mission. We have a very strong team.”
The EMPF has certain criteria in choosing penathletes to represent Egypt in the coming Olympics. The International Olympic Committee will announce 1 June the world rankings for all sports, which will decide who among world athletes qualifies for Tokyo 2020.
El-Arian added: “Our eyes are on Tokyo. Our main focus was on World Cup, the UIPM (International Modern Pentathlon Union) World Cup finals, and pentathlon world rankings. We want to qualify through them.”
“The EMPF will decide penathletes who will participate in Olympics, not before 30 May 2019. It is not necessary the modern penathletes who win today will participate in Olympics 2020,” said El-Arian.
Women's finals results
Adel, 20, claimed gold and first with a total of 1,283 points. Her scores were 216 in fencing, 254 in swimming, 290 in riding and 523 in laser-run.
Adel commented: “In shooting, I finished first, but it wasn’t my best number due to an injury last year during an equestrian event. I suffered a tear in my back. It will take some time to recover and improve my scores in games such as swimming and running.”
She added: “Equestrian was good. I scored 290 points out of 300 points. In the combined event, South Africa Alida Van Der Merwe was in first position and I was second. She was ahead of me by 22 seconds.”
She added: “In the last half-lap of the 400 metre race, I managed to finish strong to be in first position. I overcame [Van Der Merwe] by 26 seconds.”
South African Van Der Merwe finished in second place with a silver medal and 214 in fencing, 272 in swimming, 296 in riding and 475 in laser-run, at a total of 1,257 points.
Amira Kandil took bronze with 170 in fencing, 269 in swimming, 290 in riding and 489 in laser-run, at a total 1,218 points.
Sondos Tarek came fourth with 207 in fencing, 251 in swimming, 247 in riding and 485 in laser-run, and a total 1,190 points.
Men’s finals results
In the men's finals, Nazeir, 22, snatched gold and first place with a total of 1,411 points. His scores were 241 in fencing, 297 in swimming, 292 in riding and 581 in laser-run.
Nazeir said: “The results cannot be expected. It was a very tough competition. All my six fellow Egyptians were the best penathletes in the championships. They have the ability to qualify. They performed very well.”
“I passed hard times. My coaches and my family, especially my mother, were a big supporters of me. I am hoping to achieve good results during this season,” he added.
Mohannad Tarek claimed silver medal with 261 in fencing, 289 in swimming, 270 in riding and 551 in laser-run with a total of 1,371 points.
Sherif Yasser took third place and bronze with 205 in fencing, 298 in swimming, 290 in riding and 558 in laser-run with a total score of 1,351points.
The Tokyo 2020 dream
Adel is a second year student in marketing communication at the American University in Cairo. Adel competed twice in the Olympic Games, in Rio 2016 and the Nanjing Youth Olympic Games in 2014. In Nanjing, she finished in 6th place, while she came 33rd in Rio.
She said: “This time, I want to achieve a medal in Tokyo. It is a dream for every athlete to achieve an Olympic medal. My real model is Lithuanian world number one Laura Asadauskaitė. She is a mother of a 10-year-old girl. She won a gold medal in London 2012. She is a challenging character. She never gives up.”
On Adel’s preparations for the African Championships, she said: “I apologise for my training camp in Italy. I would have preferred to do the training in Cairo with my coaches, but it was the best camp I ever had. It lasted for three weeks.”
She added: “Thanks to EMPF President El-Arian, who made a good preparation plan for all the Egyptian team, today I feel confident as I stand on the start line. I am not nervous or afraid.”
She explained: “We are in constant training. Every two weeks, all team members are evaluated on our performance in all games. Every Monday we have a swimming tournament, besides yoga classes, guidance from nutritionists, medical doctors, fitness and massage therapists, and life and mental coaches.”
Egyptian champion Sherif Nazeir during shooting event
egyptian champion Haidy Adel celebrates her winning on the finish line
The female winners Der Merwe (R), Adel in the middle and Kandil (left) (Photo: Ghada Abdel-Kader)
Egypt's modern pentathletes Haidy Adel and Sherif Nazeir after winning the championship (Photo: Ghada Abdel-Kader)
(For more sports news and updates, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter at @AO_Sports and on Facebook at AhramOnlineSports.)