Paralympics reorganised

Abeer Anwar , Tuesday 15 Aug 2023

The Egyptian arm of the Games is being decentralised, reports Abeer Anwar

Zamalek and Pyramids during the league tournament
Zamalek and Pyramids during the league tournament

 

Egypt’s Paralympic Constitutional Assembly has announced the formation of national federations for swimming, powerlifting, athletics, and wheelchair basketball in a bid to decentralise the movement.

“It is the new strategy of the International Paralympic Committee to have federations standing on their own with separate entities to be responsible for the different sports that are played under the Paralympic movement,” Hossameddin Mustafa, president of the Egyptian Paralympic Committee, said.

“It is a step towards decentralisation that makes the movement bigger and allows each federation to work separately to try to implement its own strategic plan and reach out to more disabled athletes and work with them to make them future Paralympians.

“We started doing this years ago as we have in Egypt separate federations for sitting volleyball, cerebral palsy, blind federation, and one for people with intellectual disabilities. But we decided that we need more independent sports federations standing on their own,” Mustafa said.

During a press conference held at Maadi Olympic Center, the Confederation of African Amputee Football (CAAF) signed a contract for Egypt to host the African Amputee Football Nations Cup from 18 to 26 April 2024. The cup is a qualifier for the World Amputee Football Federation (WAFF) World Cup in 2026.

The contract was signed by Mustafa, Mohamed Adel Hosni, head of the amputee football local organising committee, and Mustafa Osman Shalanyuy, the CAAF vice president.

The ceremony was attended by Khaled Attia Al-Adl, CAAF treasurer, Georg Schlachtenberger, WAFF secretary-general, and governing board members from the Egyptian Paralympic Committee and the Egyptian Amputee Football Federation.

During the nine-day tournament, 16 African teams will compete to decide which teams will qualify for the 2026 Amputee Football World Cup.

“For the African amputee family, this upcoming tournament will be another important milestone to showcase the excellence of our players to the fans, to Africa, and to the whole world,” Shalanyuy said. “It is all due to the outstanding commitment of Mohamed Adel Hosni and Sarah Ahmed Al-Maayrgi, both business leaders, who have already shown their commitment to amputee football in recent years by supporting and believing in the abilities of Egyptian amputee football, organising a football academy, supporting the team and now starting a national league.”

“It will be a great pleasure and honour to organise this prestigious tournament in Cairo and we will ensure that the players, teams, spectators and media have a great environment to play and work in,” Al-Maayrgi said. “We will also organise a media campaign to promote the tournament and spread the message to the public through social media.”

Schlachtenberger was delighted with the announcement, saying the tournament will be a real highlight for amputee football worldwide. “Our movement is growing, especially in Africa, and we are very pleased that Cairo is hosting this important World Cup qualifier and organising it not only very professionally, but also with commitment and passion. We will be watching next April. Amputee football is not only skill, speed, agility and coordination but above all emotion.”

CAAF is the governing body of amputee football in Africa and a member of the WAFF. Its mission is to include and support people with amputations or limb defects, increase their access to amputee football opportunities, and use football to improve their quality of life.

The Egyptian Amputee football team entered a closed camp to prepare for the first Africa Paralympic Games, to take place in Ghana in September.

The Paralympic Games or Paralympics, also known as the Games of the Paralympiad, is a periodic series of international multisport events involving athletes with a range of disabilities. There are Winter and Summer Paralympic Games which, since the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul, South Korea, are held almost immediately following the respective Olympic Games. All Paralympic Games are governed by the International Paralympic Committee.


* A version of this article appears in print in the 17 August, 2023 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly

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