INTERVIEW: Egypt's top swimmer Ahmed Akram hungry for Olympic honour in Rio

Ahmed Abd El Rasoul , Tuesday 2 Aug 2016
Egypt
Egypt's swimmer Ahmed Akram (Reuters)

Share/Bookmark
Views: 3882

A key player in the recent smash-success of Egyptian swimming following a season of outstanding performances, Ahmed Akram, the country’s best ever swimmer, is motivated to do something even more special at the upcoming Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

In Brazil, Akram will be setting his sights on winning a medal and making it to the Olympics hall of fame, especially as he already has Olympic achievements under his belt, winning gold at the 2014 Youth Olympics in the 800 m freestyle (7:54.29), making him the first ever Egyptian to win the contest's top accolade.

The 20-year-old swimmer is still hungry for new glory after registering Egypt's best ever performance at the 2015 FINA World Championships in August, finishing fourth in the 1500m event (14:53.66m), an achievement that was followed a month later by winning four gold medals in 400m freestyle in the multi-sport All-Africa Games in Congo.

In an interview by email, Akram spoke to Ahram Online about his recent preparations, results, ambitions and upcoming challenges in Rio.

What is your main target at Rio? 

I will be competing in the 1500m freestyle in Brazil, and my main target is to try to make the finals of that race.

What are your recent performances and competitions? Your current numbers?

My prominent achievement in 2016 was winning the gold medal in the men’s 1650 yard freestyle final of the Southeastern Conference (SEC) Championships, held in February at Columbia, Missouri.

I came first with a 14:35.49, breaking my previous personal and university record by 11 seconds.

At the same event, I won a silver medal in the men’s 500-yard freestyle final, finishing in the second position with a [time of] 4:13.48.

Also, I won the gold medal in the men’s 1500m race at the Dubai Arab Aquatics Championship (DIAC) last April with [a time of] 15:08.05.

Do you think the recent success of Egyptian swimming, and especially your perfect season, will motivate you to shine in Brazil?

Yes, I think seeing all the success that Egyptian swimming has been able to achieve gives me motivation to do something more special.

Do you have certain concerns ahead of the tournament?

You never expect what will happen in that race. There are a lot of great swimmers in the 1500, and it will be so hard to make it to the finals, so everyone has to be in his very best.

What about your major opponents?

There's one from Italy, China, USA and Australia. 

Finally, what are your expectations for yourself and your Egyptian teammates at Rio?

I believe we can do something better than we did at the World Championships in Kazan last year, so we will see what will happen.

(For more sports news and updates, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter at @AO_Sports and on Facebook at AhramOnlineSports.)

Search Keywords:

Add Comment

 
 
 
Ahram Online welcomes readers' comments on all issues covered by the site, along with any criticisms and/or corrections. Readers are asked to limit their feedback to a maximum of 4000 characters (roughly 200 words). All comments/criticisms will, however, be subject to the following code
  • We will not publish comments which contain rude or abusive language, libelous statements, slander and personal attacks against any person/s.
  • We will not publish comments which contain racist remarks or any kind of racial or religious incitement against any group of people, in Egypt or outside it.
  • We welcome criticism of our reports and articles but we will not publish personal attacks, slander or fabrications directed against our reporters and contributing writers.
  • We reserve the right to correct, when at all possible, obvious errors in spelling and grammar. However, due to time and staffing constraints such corrections will not be made across the board or on a regular basis.