Handball: Egypt back to Olympics with renewed hope

Mohamed Mosselhi , Sunday 7 Aug 2016
Egypt
Egypt's Yehia Elderaa, center, yawns at the start of a morning Egypt men's handball training session at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Friday, Aug. 5, 2016. (AP)

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After missing the 2012 edition in London for the first time since 1992, Egypt's handball team are back to the Olympics with the aim of keeping up their recent fine performances.

Their convincing displays at last year's World Championship in Qatar and the African Championship title which they had won earlier this year show that Egypt are on the right track after disastrous three years.

A medal remains far-fetched for the Pharaohs as they are still way behind the big guns but at least they seek to become one of the Olympic dark horses.

"It is known that the Olympics is tougher than the World Championships," Egypt's star Ahmed El-Ahmar told Ahram online.

"The Olympics includes the best 12 teams in the world and there is no room for small sides."

Egypt were drawn in Group B along with European champions Germany, Poland, Sweden, Slovenia and hosts Brazil.

According to competition's format, the four first teams in each group will advance to the knockout round.

Egypt's mission to earn one of these qualifying places would not be easy.

They rely on the great capabilities of star Ahmed El-Ahmar, who was instrumental in Egypt's triumphant campaign at the African Championship on home soil.

Keeper Karim Hindawy is also one of team's key players with his solid performances between the sticks. 

Egypt are well prepared for the Olympics. They started their preparation just after securing their place in Rio de Janeiro with some home training camps before heading to Europe for two camps in the Czech Republic and France.

They ended their preparations with a ten-day camp in Argentina, a few days before the Olympics' kick-off.

"We are fully prepared and we are determined to present a good image of the Egyptian handball in the Olympics." El-Ahmar concluded.

Egypt's best Olympic performance was a sixth-place finish in Atlanta in 1996.

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