A one-day event, Egypt’s Athletes Forum, was the first of its kind in the country, as athletes were given the chance to speak on the challenges facing them.
The forum was recently hosted by the American University in Cairo and attended by top sports officials, athletes, journalists and those working in the business of sports.
The event attracted a big audience from all those involved in the sports sector.
Through nine sessions, the forum tackled the struggles and challenges that face athletes during their journeys and how to overcome them; nutrition, sports injury diagnosis and treatment; mental health and wellbeing; women’s empowerment; agents and how they brand athletes and connect them with their potential sponsors; investment; the country’s role in supporting athletic champions and preparing athletes; what’s next?; Paris 2024; and recognition and inspirational stories.
Each session included four speakers and a moderator and compromised a Q&A session from the audience at the end.
“With our passion for sports, fair play and young talents, we’re launching Egypt Athletes Forum to become the first and biggest networking event in the country,” the event’s organiser announced.
“Our goal is to build a community of Egyptian champs, highlight their successes, understand their struggles and support them in their journeys and help them make history by encouraging them in international competitions.
“The forum intends to be a periodic event where each edition has a different aim, momentum, theme and a message that shall truly go far and beyond.”
Secretary-General of the Egyptian Olympic Committee (EOC) Sherif Al-Erian said the forum was very important to all sports stakeholders, especially the athletes. “When the EOC was approached by the organisers with this idea, we found it a brilliant idea, for us as officials and for the athletes as well,” Al-Erian said.
“It was a great gathering, where athletes, coaches, officials and media all met to discuss their challenges and find solutions. The athletes responded to come and speak and share their struggles and challenges because they needed to, and it was our role as officials to listen to their voices. This is why we designated a whole session on ‘what do athletes need’?
“Apart from other necessities, their biggest need was hearing them and giving them the opportunity to open up with their officials. Now we, as officials, know what they need, and will be working together to find solutions that would fulfill their needs,” Al-Erian added.
The forum’s agenda and theme were supervised by former modern pentathlon athlete Aya Medani, a member of the IOC Athletes Commission and head of the Modern Pentathlon Athletes Commission as well as being a member in Egypt’s Parliament.
The forum, powered by Champ, an event management company, was held under the auspices of the Ministry of Youth and Sport and the EOC.
* A version of this article appears in print in the 23 March, 2023 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly