Egypt’s Samar Hamza wrote her own history, claiming a bronze medal in the World Wrestling Championship, the first Egyptian woman to take a medal in the tournament.
The 26-year-old wrestler etched her name in the history books of this tough sport, winning the bronze in the 76kg weight category in the World Championship which recently concluded in Oslo.
The mighty wrestler started powerfully in the round of 16, beating Elmira Syzdykova of Uzbekistan 3-2 before toppling Japan’s Yasuha Matsuyuki 4-2 in the quarter-finals.
The Egyptian then went into battle with the eventual winner Adeline Gray of the US, with Hamza losing 11-1 by fall in the semi-finals. However, she still earned an opportunity to play for the bronze medal against India’s Kiran Bishnoi in the repechage.
It was a close game for the Egyptian who managed to snatch a 2-1 win and book her position on the podium and receive Egypt’s unprecedented bronze medal, the first medal for the nation in the world championship in 15 years, ever since wrestler Mohamed Ibrahim won gold in the World Championships in 2006 in the 84kg.
Gray claimed the gold medal while Epp Mäe of Estonia settled for silver, with Kyrgyzstan’s Aiperi Medet Kyzy sharing the bronze medal with Hamza.
Hamza was eliminated in the Tokyo Games after losing 16-12 to the 2019 World Champion Natalia Vorobieva of Russia in the Round of 16 in the freestyle 76kg event. After her defeat, she announced her retirement only to return to the World Championship.
Hamza had also represented Egypt at the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in the 75kg weight category, where she made an early exit by losing in the round of 32 to Russia’s Ekaterina Bukina.
In 2021, before the Olympics, Hamza won the silver medal in the 76kg event at the Matteo Pellicone Ranking Series held in Rome. She won at the 2021 African & Oceania Wrestling Olympic qualification tournament to represent Egypt in Tokyo.
*A version of this article appears in print in the 14 October, 2021 edition of Al-Ahram Weekl