The Taekwondo World Championships
With two bronze medals, Egypt achieved a near historic victory at the World Taekwondo Championships in Baku, Azerbaijan. Seif Eissa (-80 kg) and young Shahd Sami (-53 kg) took the Egyptians to 20th place in the overall standings.
Sami’s medal was the first for Egypt by a woman in the sport since 2005.
Eissa had a good run, the Egyptian beginning his journey by beating Farzad Mansouri (RTA) 2-0 in the round of 16, then beat Ismaïl Coulibaly (Mali) in the round of 16 by the same score. In the quarter-finals he beat Faysal Sawadogo (Burundi) 2-1, before losing to American Carl Alan Nickolas, the world’s No 3, 2-0, winning the bronze.
Sami had an exceptional journey as well. In the first round she beat Yuen Ting So (HKG) 2-0, then defeated Dominika Hronava (Czech Republic) in the 16th round by the same score. In the round of 16, she continued her momentum by beating Spain’s world No 5 Alma Maria Perez Parrado 2-1 before losing in the quarter-finals to Lebanese Mariella Bou Habib 0-2 and winning the bronze medal.
The World Championships, held from 29 May to 4 June, saw nearly 1,000 athletes from 144 registered member countries plus a refugee team who competed over seven days of competition. A total of 24 countries from each of the five continents won at least one medal, with the 16 gold medals won by nine countries, demonstrating the global reach and strength of the sport.
Of the 64 medal-winning athletes, 10 were first-time world champions. Another 31 won their first-ever medals at the World Championships. The majority are under the age of 24, signifying a generational shift that will have a lasting impact on the taekwondo scene for years to come. South Korea finished top of the men’s medal standings and Turkey led the women’s standings.
Apart from the two bronze medals, the Pharaohs achieved promising results with four other athletes ending in fifth place, including Ahmed Al-Rawi (-87 kg), Eyad Barakat (-68 kg), Maissoun Ehab (-73 kg) and Janna Khattab (-49 kg). The team was led by coach Mohamed Cho, and assistants Osama Al-Sayed and Mohamed Magdi. Head of the delegation was Mohamed Agiza, a member of the board of directors of the federation and general supervisor of the team.
During the closing ceremony, Baku officially handed over the flag to the hosts of the 2025 World Taekwondo Championships, Wuxi, China.
Prior to the kick-off of the championship, the executive board meeting of the World Taekwondo Federation took place, attended by Egypt’s Mohamed Shaaban, president of the Games’ Committee and member of the executive board of the World Federation.
During the meeting, several decisions were taken, including the choice of Wuxi in China as the host city for the 2025 World Championship.
* A version of this article appears in print in the 1 June, 2023 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly.