Hot cup

Abeer Anwar , Tuesday 2 May 2023

World Cup standouts, European champions and Olympic medallists made up a glittering line-up at the final of the 2023 Artistic Gymnastics Apparatus World Cup in Cairo, reports Abeer Anwar

Artistic Gymnastics

The Cairo World Cup 2023, held from 27-30 April, attracted more than 130 gymnasts from 40 nations. Held in Cairo Stadium, the tournament is only in its fourth edition but has, as a World Challenge Cup, become one of the hottest events on the circuit.

Participating nations were Albania, Algeria, Armenia, Australia, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Germany, United Kingdom, Greece, Indonesia, Turkey, Ireland, Italy, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Mexico, Portugal, The Netherlands, Malaysia, Norway, Panama, Philippines, Qatar, Serbia, Slovenia, Taiwan, Ukraine, the US, Uzbekistan, and Vietnam, in addition to host country Egypt.

In his opening ceremony speech given in a short recorded video, Morinari Watanabe of Japan, head of the Federation Internationale de Gymnastique (FIG), said he was “very proud” that Egypt was hosting the Cairo World Cup 2023 edition and held special admiration “and love” for Egypt on the personal level. Watanabe added that the Egyptian Gymnastics Federation headed by Ihab Amin had succeeded in putting Egypt on the international level and among the top countries in gymnastics in just a few years which he called a “great achievement”.

Minister of Youth and Sports Ashraf Sobhi said he was very proud of the performance of the Egyptian gymnasts “in that they were able to reach an international level and compete with world champions in a short time”. He thanked Amin for his dedication and hard work in taking the federation and the players to a higher standard.

Amin, who is also the African Gymnastics Federations president, expressed his gratitude to all who worked hard to make the event a success. “I thank all who supported us to make this event a fabulous one that the whole world will talk about for years. I send special thanks to the Egyptian national team and their coaches for their perfect performances and we will work hard in the coming period to attain our target of representing Egypt in the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.”

Mohamed Afifi took the silver medal in the parallels with 14.066 total points while the gold medal went to Ukraine’s Llya Kovtun with 14.833 points. Bronze went to Italian Nicola Muzzotto with a total of 14.03 points.

“I am very happy with the silver medal although I should have done more to collect the gold as it was a golden chance performing at home and among family and friends,” Afifi said. “Participating in the Cairo World Cup 2023 gives us a lot of experience and it changes a lot of our mentality and performance. Now we are targeting medals at all international competitions that we participate in. Previously we only sought participation and that’s all. We are preparing for the African Championship and the World Championship and we are seeking to be among the best 12 teams worldwide to take part in the Paris 2024 Olympics.”

Ali Zahran came fifth in the men’s rings apparatus with 14.533 points to keep his hopes alive of going to Paris. Teammate Ahmed Al-Maraghi also came fifth in the high bar with 13.166 points.

Vice President of the Asian Gymnastics Federation Sakr Al-Mulla on the Cairo World Cup 2023: “Egypt has dazzled the whole world by organising such a super event and set an example to be followed by all countries in organisation and the number of fans attending.” He added that the performance of the Egyptian gymnastics national team had progressed a lot in the past few years “due to the great support given by Egyptian officials which led to Egyptian supremacy in the different sports and the number of medals won in international championships”.

Al-Mulla said he was very proud of the leap that had taken place in the performance of most Arab countries in gymnastics in world championships “which opens the door to more medals in the Olympic Games”.


A version of this article appears in print in the 4 May, 2023 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly

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