Ahmed El-Ahmar: A one-off handball Egypt talent at the Rio Olympics

Ahram Online takes a look at the sparkling career of Egypt and Zamalek star Ahmed El-Ahmar, who leads the national side at the Rio Olympics

Omar Zaazou , Wednesday 3 Aug 2016
Ahmed Al Ahmr (L) of Egypt
File photo: Ahmed Al Ahmr (L) of Egypt's Al-Zamalek tries to score next to Jakov Gojun (R) of Spain's Atletico Madrid during the Super Globe 2012 handball tournament in Doha August 29, 2012.

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Egypt handball star Ahmed El-Ahmar has been chosen to carry his nation's flag at the opening ceremony of the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games in recognition of the 32-year-old's distinguished career on both the local and international fronts.

El-Ahmar, a skilful left-handed right-back, is set to lead Egypt – who qualified as African champions – at the upcoming Olympics in a crunch Group B featuring the likes of Poland, Brazil, Slovenia, Sweden and Germany.

The Zamalek prized asset will be hoping to see his side finish in a much better position this time around, having failed to book a place at the 2012 Games in London after ousting the Beijing edition from the group stage four years earlier.

Having made five previous appearances at the Olympics, the Egyptian handball side's best-ever achievement came in Atlanta 10 years ago when they finished sixth, and came up as seventh four years later in Sydney.

Glittering career

El-Ahmar kicked off his golden handball career with Zamalek in 2004, the same year that saw him receive the best right-back award at their triumphant African Championship campaign at home soil.

This was only the beginning of further accolades to come, having been named the best right-back, best player and top-scorer in Egypt's 2008 and 2010 African Championship campaigns – where they finished champions and runners-up respectively.

He was also an instrumental figure for Egypt in three triumphant All-Africa Games tournaments, which took them to Athens in 2004 and Beijing four years later before sealing a place in this summer's edition.

On the club level, El-Ahmar's career is no less successful, having won the African Handball Champions League once in 2011 and both the African Handball Winners Cup and the African Handball Super Cup three times with Zamalek.

In 2012, he decided to embark on an overseas adventure, moving to Qatari side El-Jaish whom he helped win a host of domestic and continental titles before switching to Germany's SG Flensburg-Handewitt in February 2015.

Wherever the Egyptian ace went, titles normally follow, this time helping the German side to the domestic cup in his short four-month stint.

El-Ahmar returned to his boyhood club in 2015 on a two-year deal, which saw him loaned out to a host of Arab sides including Saudi side Ahly Jeddah and Tunisia's Africain.

Now, after leading Egypt to the Rio de Janeiro games, El-Ahmar will be looking forward to putting in a memorable performance for his side that will hopefully take them beyond the group stage.

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