City of peace and medals

Abeer Anwar , Tuesday 2 Apr 2024

Egypt won 21 medals at the 2024 Cairo World Para Powerlifting World Cup in Sharm El-Sheikh, reports Abeer Anwar


World Para Powerlifting chose Sharm El-Sheikh, the land of peace, to host its second World Cup of the season which had 245 athletes representing 34 nations, including Paralympic and world champions, who competed in a quest to improve their rankings in the hopes of reaching the Paris 2024 Paralympics.

It was the first time for Sharm El-Sheikh, the coastal Egyptian city, to host a Para Powerlifting World Cup after the event was staged in Cairo last year.

The tournament, 17 March-25 March, was held under the patronage of Minister of Youth and Sports Ashraf Sobhi and South Sinai Governor Khaled Fouda.

Egypt won five gold, six silver and 10 bronze. The gold medalists were Rehab Ahmed (55kg), Mohamed Sobhi (88kg),Safa Hassan (79kg), Fatma Mahrous (67kg), and Randa Tajeddin (86kg). The silver medalists were Omayma Omar (50kg), Hassan Al-Attar (80kg), Nawal Ramadan (45kg), Inas Al-Gebali (41kg), Mohamed Ali (72kg) and Nadia Hassan (86kg) while the bronze medalists were Sherif Othman (65kg), Mazhar Tamam (80kg), Sabah Abdel-Fattah (55kg), Mahmoud Atiya (72kg), Amal Suleiman (61kg), Adel Al-Hout (59kg), Amal Hanafi (79kg), Amani Al-Desouki (86kg), Mohamed Al-Sayed (107kg) and Amr Farouk (+107kg).

The World Cup delivered an amazing spectacle over the weekend, especially for the hosts.

Egypt, buoyed by the home crowd and led by world champion Rehab Ahmed, finished the competition as the most successful team with their athletes triumphing in 14 out of 23 events.

Ahmed lifted 134kg to grab the gold in her new category, the women’s up to 55kg, adding 4kg to the weight of 130kg that made her world champion for the fourth time in a row at the Dubai 2023 World Championships in August.

The Egyptian two-time Paralympic silver medalist also contributed with a 120kg lift in the mixed team event alongside her teammates Mohamed Al-Menyawi and Mohamed Al-Elfat, who together scored 372.87 points, to carry Egypt’s flag to the top of the podium in the mixed team event.

Individually, Al-Menyawi and Al-Elfat also made their contribution in the hosts’ gold medal haul as they lifted respectively 190kg in the men’s up to 59kg and 223kg in the men’s up to 88kg.

Omayma Omar, Randa Tag Elddin and Safaa Hassan were other Egyptian powerlifters who collected golds in both individual and team events. Together, they accumulated 287.66 points in the women’s team event by lifting 95kg, 125kg, and 120kg respectively.

Separately, Hassan triumphed in the women’s up to 73kg with an effort of 127kg while Mahmoud managed a successful lift of 132kg for the women’s up to 86kg honours, while Omar emerged the winner in the women’s up to 50kg with an effort of 103kg.

In their 14 gold-medal winning campaign in Cairo 2024, Egypt also had collected medals through Fatma Korani and Nadia Ali in the women’s up to 61kg and over 86kg respectively, and from the men’s event - Taha Abdel-Maguid in the up to 54kg, Mazhar Al-Sayed in the up to 80kg, and Mahmoud Attia in the up to 72kg categories, in addition to the men’s team composed of Fouad Mohamed, Abdel-Baset Moussa and Hassan Al-Attar.

The coaching staff led by Jean Andre and assistants Mohamed Ezzat and Shaaban Yehia played a crucial role in guiding the team to success.

Chilean Andre said that coaching the team was a great honour and a challenge that he undertook in order to form a new generation for the team. He added that he expects at least 16 powerlifters from both genders to qualify for the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games.

“Egypt hosting this important event is an opportunity for the largest number of Egyptian players to participate, which will have a positive impact on their experiences especially junior powerlifters as they will meet competitors from various countries in the championship’s competitions,” Andre said.

He stressed that the timing of holding the tournament was an opportunity to qualify the players and prepare well for the 2024 Paralympic Games.

Andre stressed that the current stage is one of replacement and renewal of the national team and that there are new “distinguished” powerlifters who will participate during the competitions for the first time to give them a chance to compete and evaluate their performance.

“We are proud to participate with such a large number of our best Egyptian powerlifters in the World Cup,” Emad Ramadan, the Egyptian Paralympic Committee treasurer, said.

“Egypt has succeeded in hosting a large event as the World Cup which is one of the qualifying stations for the Paris 2024 Paralympics, as we have the needed infrastructure and the facilities in addition to trained calibers. That’s why we have succeeded in organising many major sporting events during the recent period,” Ramadan said.

Ramadan also announced that Egypt will host the 2025 edition of the World Cup which is expected to have more than 1,000 para powerlifters.

He pointed out that the Egyptian Paralympic Committee, headed by Hossameddin Mustafa, seeks to contribute to revitalising tourism, especially sports tourism, by holding the World Cup in Sharm El-Sheikh.

Ramadan said that since the Paralympic board, headed by Mustafa, took over, the dream was to host the largest global events in Egypt, “and the dream has now become a reality”.

Mustafa hailed the organisation of the World Cup. He said there were some significant challenges from the beginning after expecting the participation of only about 15 countries although the tournament had 34 countries. “Despite the increase in the number of participants, we were able to hold the championship well and successfully, as acknowledged by all delegations.”

Mustafa added that the importance of the championship lies in it being a qualification station and preparation for the powerlifters in Paris “especially since it is gathering a number of champions and world record holders, so there was strong competition among all countries.

“The championship is important for us to know our strengths and to be able to identify and address mistakes in the upcoming stages.”

Mustafa extended congratulations and greetings to all the players, especially those who won medals, emphasising that he expects strong results in Paris “just as all Egyptians dream of and anticipate”.

Governor Fouda received Jorge Moreno, head of World Para Powerlifting, EPC treasurer Ramadan, assistant coach Al-Khatib, who is also a well-known Paralympian, and Fatima Omar, a former Egyptian Para Powerlifting Paralympian and now ambassador of the Egyptian Paralympic Committee following the conclusion of the World Cup.

The meeting included the exchange of trophies and discussions about the EPC’s achievements in hosting international Paralympic events.

Fouda invited the EPC board led by Mustafa to make Sharm El-Sheikh a destination for all international Paralympic championships. He also praised the successful organisation of the World Cup.

He hailed the EPC’s continuous efforts to host international Paralympic sporting events, emphasising that the efforts stem from the directives of the political leadership led by President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi, “the spiritual father of all persons with disabilities”.

Fouda told Moreno that the Egyptian government always welcomes the hosting of Paralympic events in all sports, not just powerlifting and pledged support for any Paralympic sporting event held in Sharm.

Moreno, of Mexico, praised Egypt’s success in organising the World Cup.

Moreno said Egypt presented a “distinctive championship, especially in an enchanting city like Sharm El-Sheikh”, commending Egypt’s performance and the “excellent choice of the city of peace to host such a large-scale championship”.

“The participation of 34 countries is evidence of the importance and success of the championship, and I expect that future editions will witness participation similar to this edition in terms of the number of countries, athletes and officials. This success is credited to the EPC which had a clear impact.”

Moreno emphasised that he enjoyed the atmosphere in Sharm, noting that Egypt is always distinguished in organisation “which is why it was granted to host the championship until 2028. It has all the needed updated sports facilities in addition to the charming weather and scenery that attracts all to come, not only to compete, but also to enjoy the fabulous atmosphere.”

He indicated that Egypt had previously succeeded in hosting the African Championship, then the World Championship, and now the World Cup, confirming that Egypt is a country of safety and security with the infrastructure needed to host major tournaments.

He said Egypt’s remarkable performance and organisational prowess further solidified its position as a leading host for major sporting events.

From Cairo, the World Para Powerlifting World Cup now travels to Asia as the competition lands in Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand, for a four-day competition from 5 to 8 December.

The Egyptian Paralympic Committee also honored powerlifter Omar.

The organising committee of the championship displayed a special banner bearing the words: “Thank you, global powerlifting legend Fatma Omar.”

Omar was the dominant power in her sport, winning gold in her event in four Summer Paralympics and two silver.


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

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