Places in Paris

Inas Mazhar , Tuesday 2 Jan 2024

The 2024 Olympic Games in Paris is the top priority for Egypt’s sports establishment, reports Inas Mazhar

Karim Kahla  Azmi Mehelba  Sara Samir and Fencing Team
Karim Kahla Azmi Mehelba Sara Samir and Fencing Team

 

The Paris 2024 Olympic, taking place from 26 July to 11 August, will be the biggest event ever staged in France.

For Egyptian athletes and their federations, those who have already secured places, though pleased, are preparing for the Games in earnest, while those yet to qualify, await anxiously to see if they can join their teammates in the biggest sports event in the world.

So far, Egyptian athletes have clinched 77 places in Paris. The tickets belong to the Olympic football men’s team (18), men’s volleyball (12), women’s artistic swimming team (8), modern pentathlon (3), swimming (1), shooting (11), table tennis (6), boxing (3), wrestling (1), rowing (2), archery (2), canoe and kayak (1), taekwondo (1), sailing (2), diving (4), and equestrian (1).

The number is expected to increase in the next four months as African qualifying competitions and qualifying according to international rankings continue. The sports which Egypt might still qualify for: fencing, taekwondo, weightlifting, wrestling, athletics, modern pentathlon, swimming, judo, gymnastics, tennis, archery, canoeing, and handball. The remainder are to be decided by May at most, almost two months before the Games begin.

According to the Paris 2024 committee, the spectacle taking place during the weeks of the Olympics will go down in history, and Paris will be the centre of the world — the world of sport and much more. The Games, it says, are a popular, multicultural festival, a celebration to share with the rest of the world. They represent a new adventure that will embark France on an experience unlike anything it has seen before.

The 33rd edition of the Olympic Games is expected to be watched by billions of television viewers worldwide, 350,000 hours of TV broadcast, and millions of spectators who will be attending and watching 41 venues where 10,500 athletes will be battling it out for winning medals. Paris 2024 will also have 20,000 accredited journalists, 31,500 volunteers, and 600,000+ meals served at the Athletes’ Village per day.

Key figures include 19 days of competition (handball, football, and rugby start 24 July, before the opening ceremony); 329 events, 206 National Olympic Committees; 28 sports+ (including four additional sports); 758 sessions and 10,500 athletes.

The Paris Games will also include four additional sports to enhance its programme and overall concept: breaking, sport climbing, skateboarding and surfing, setting a new standard for inclusive, gender-balanced and youth-centred Games. Paris 2024 submitted its proposal to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to integrate the four sports that are closely associated with youth and reward creativity and athletic performance. All four are easy to take up and participants form communities that are very active on social media.

According to the Paris 2024 website, Paris is also counting on leaving a legacy as they believe that hosting the biggest event in the world will change the country. For them it’s inevitable. “Paris 2024 wants sport values to become a key part of people’s lives and to prove that we can achieve excellence while also championing sustainability,” the website said. 

Paris 2024 also stated its venue concept. “Because Paris is not like any other city, the Games in the capital city promise a complete spectacle, thought out for the athletes, spectators and television audiences. Also, Paris’ iconic landmarks are being transformed into sporting arenas to offer spectators an unparalleled experience and provide an outstanding backdrop for sporting prowess. This unique concept guides our master plan for the 35 venues.” 

The Egyptian National Olympic Committee (ENOC) has a new head, Yasser Idris, ENOC deputy and president of the Egyptian Swimming Federation. Idris replaces former ENOC and Equestrian Federation president Hisham Hatab who was recently suspended by the ENOC board of directors following reports of financial, legal and administrative irregularities in the Equestrian Federation. Hatab is suspended until the conclusion of a prosecution investigation, meaning virtually the end of the Olympic Games.

“The upcoming period will witness a new working policy within the ENOC, whose main target is putting Egyptian sports as a priority and in the lead as well as providing the sports family federations the best and most suitable conditions to continue their parade of achievements,” Idris said.

“Egyptian sports are at their best nowadays and have seen unprecedented achievements and records set, thanks to the morale, logistics and financial support provided by the nation’s leadership. We will follow up with all federations during our journey to prepare the athletes for the Games in Paris, which is the most important sports event in the world. We will provide our support while not interfering in the policy or views of the federations’ board of directors,” Idris added.


* A version of this article appears in print in the 4 January, 2024 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly

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