ParaVolley in Paris

Abeer Anwar , Tuesday 21 Nov 2023

For the first time, Egypt’s men’s ParaVolley team will be going to the Paralympic Games, reports Abeer Anwar

Egypt won 3-1 in the semi-final against Germany
Egypt won 3-1 in the semi-final against Germany

 

 

For the first time, the Egyptian national Men’s Para Volley team reached the final of the World ParaVolley Sitting Volleyball World Cup that took place at the New Administrative Capital in Cairo. Although they lost to Iran 3-0, the Egyptians did their best against the reigning world champions.

There was, however, consolation for Egypt which, by reaching the final, qualified for next year’s Paris Paralympic Games which involves athletes with a range of disabilities.

Iran and China captured the gold medals for men and women after going undefeated.

Iran topped the men’s podium after their 3-0 (25-21, 25-19, 25-17) victory over hosts Egypt, completing their tournament sweep.  

Germany clinched bronze after recovering from a 2-1 deficit to win 3-2 (25-16, 24-26, 22-25, 25-18, 15-5) against continental rivals Ukraine.

Brazil and Iraq finished fifth and seventh in the standings, respectively, following their victories over China 3-1 (25-21, 25-22, 26-28, 25-20) and Japan 3-1 (24-26, 25-14, 25-21, 25-13).

China grabbed the gold medal in the women’s event after their 3-1 (25-23, 25-16, 17-25, 25-20) victory against Canada.

World champions Brazil bagged the women’s bronze medal after their 3-0 (25-13, 25-17, 25-18) win over Germany.

Ukraine prevailed over Slovenia 3-0 (25-20, 25-21, 25-21) in the all-European battle for fifth, while Rwanda overcame Egypt 3-0 (25-16, 25-17, 25-14) in the all-African clash for seventh place.

Egypt reached the final following victory over Germany.  The home team pushed their winning streak to four and continued their climb to the final match by stopping Germany 3-1 (25-20, 25-20, 23-25, 25-18) in the second final four match.

The Egyptian team included Mohamed Abdullah, Al-Sayed Moussa, Abdel-Nabi Hassan, Ahmed Mohamed Fadl, Matawaa Abdel-Baqi, Mohamed Saad, Hossam Masoud, Ahmed Mohamed Khamis, Zakaria Al-Sayed, Ahmed Mohamed Hassan, Mohamed Ibrahim, Anwar Ramadan, Hammadah Al-Sayed, Fares Mohamed, Mohamed Hamdi, Mohamed Al-Sayed, and Abdullah Rizk. Ayman Al-Afifi was the technical director, Taher Al-Bahai head coach and Adel Ashoush coach and acting administrative director.

Thirteen countries participated in the men’s event: Iran, Egypt, Algeria, Brazil, France, Germany, Great Britain, India, Japan, Rwanda, China, Ukraine and Iraq while 10 countries participated in the women’s event: Mongolia, The Netherlands, Slovenia, Rwanda, China, Canada, Brazil, Germany, Ukraine and host country Egypt.

“Thanks to the players of the team and thanks to everyone who gave a helping hand, we were able to make it,” Al-Afifi said. “At last we are the silver medalists and we are going to the Paris Paralympics. Two dreams that have come true due to hard work and the resilience of the players. They did their best and they deserve it. I also thank the fans who backed us all through our matches. It was a great event and a huge achievement and what makes it a magnificent one is that it took place on our homeland and among our people,” Al-Afifi said.

“I am very happy with the Egyptian team’s achievement,” Mustafa Abdel-Azim, president of ParaVolley Egypt, said. “They were great and they did it at last. Finally, we will participate in the coming Paralympic Games. We have a lot of work to prepare for the event as it will be the first time in the history of Egyptian ParaVolley.”

Barry Couzner, World ParaVolley (WPV) president, told Al-Ahram Weekly “it was a nice event in Cairo. We had a chance to see nice and challenging matches in Cairo. The number of participating countries in both events, men and women, were great. I am very happy that Egypt had the chance to host this event to be the first challenging event after Covid.

“I think Africa has a number of capabilities and capacities in its different countries and we can attract more countries to our sport through preparing qualified and trained coaches and professionals that can deal with the disabled and teach them. The coach plays a big role in finding the proper player and training him. People’s lives have turned upside down by practicing sports. They changed their sad stories and challenges into success through sports.”

WPV Vice President Lori Okimura said she was “really fascinated by the number of facilities and sports venues that Egypt has at the new Administrative Capital. I haven’t seen this before in many countries. I think Egypt is capable from now on to host the most prestigious events. I am very pleased to be part of the World Cup event in Cairo as it was a good chance to have a number of new countries participating for the first time such as Mongolia and India.”

According to the WPV website, the World Cup is a Paris 2024 Paralympic qualifier, where one berth per gender is available for the winner or the highest placed non-qualified team of the tournament.

Ten teams have qualified so far for the Paris 2024 Paralympics, including France (men and women) as hosts, world champions Iran (men) and Brazil (women), Asian champions Kazakhstan (men) and China (women), European champions Bosnia and Herzegovina (men) and Italy (women), and Pan American champions Brazil (men) and United States (women).

World ParaVolley has confirmed that Cairo will host the 2023 WPV Sitting Volleyball World Cup, following the COVID-19-related postponement of its hosting in 2021.


* A version of this article appears in print in the 23 November, 2023 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly

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