SHOTGUN RETURNS: The Shotgun World Cup was held for the first time in Cairo in 10 years as the Egyptian team of Ahmed Zaher, Abdel-Azizi Mehelba and Ahmed Kamar won the bronze medal.
For the first time in the history of the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) athletes competed in trap team events. The Egyptian silver medal came from Ahmed Zaher and Maggi Ashmawi who lost to Russia’s Alexey Alipov and Daria Semianova.
“It’s something very special to shoot in your own country,” Zaher said. “It puts a lot of pressure; to get a medal here is not very easy, so this medal is very special and means a lot.”
Ashmawi said: “It’s my first World Cup medal and first experience to shoot under the lights. Even during training I never did it. It was a stressful competition, but we are glad that we were in the final and won this silver.”
Two hundred athletes representing 33 nations took part in the competition.
“We weren’t concerned about Covid-19 because we were prepared for everything,” Hazem Hosni, head of the African and Egyptian shooting federations, explained. “We had a lot of special equipment, and there were a lot of specialists in each official hotel. They were prepared for Covid tests and the testing of athletes. We had instructions which we followed, and we didn’t have any problems with Covid, because people followed these instructions.”
The championship was organised in compliance with all safety standards.
The World Cup was broadcast on TV the world over and on the ISSF online platforms.
Hosni added: “The pictures were amazing. The TV crew was good, and the cooperation between the media team of the ISSF and our team was very good. I think we made the point. The events were successful from any point of view: athletes, results, participation, broadcasting. We can evaluate it as an excellent World Cup and a common achievement.”
Croatian Giovanni Cernogoraz, the Olympic champion in trap men, agreed. “It was super. I’ve been watching the finals, it was really good. The picture and the commentator as well. The organisation of the World Cup was also really good. And it was a correct decision that athletes should stay in hotels and at the shooting range only. It’s much safer at this time.”
For the first time, a new extended programme consisting of 10 events was on show at the World Cup. It included four team events, in which athletes from six countries won awards. In total, 13 countries were featured on the podium in Cairo.
The competition in Cairo was held at the Egyptian Shooting Club, located in the 6th of October City of the capital. The venue is located 15 kilometres from the Pyramids of Giza.
The next World Cup will be held in New Delhi, India, from 18-29 March. The programme includes rifle/pistol and shotgun events.
TAEKWONDO GOLD AND SILVER: Seif Eissa, Egypt’s taekwondo champion who qualified for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, won the silver medal at the eighth Ramus Sofia Open of 2021 in the -80kg weight category after overcoming Poland’s Adrian Wakgobak in the semi-final 3-0. Eissa lost in the final to Jordan’s Saleh Al-Sherbati. Teammate Nour Hussein did better, taking the gold medal in the -49 kg category after defeating Germany’s Sohida Seleik 10-4 to add 10 points to her international ranking.
SECOND IN WRESTLING: Egyptian female wrestler Samar Hamza won the silver medal in the -76kg weight category at the Rome International Wrestling Championship after losing in the final to Canadian Erika Webby, gold medallist at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in 2016 and silver medallist at the 2018 World Championship.
Abdel-Latif Manieh took the silver medal in the -130kg weight category after losing to Turkish opponent Riza Kaliab, the four-time world champion and silver medallist in both the 2012 London Olympics and the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.
JAPANESE FEAR FOREIGN FANS AT OLYMPICS: More than 75 per cent of Japanese oppose overseas fans attending the Tokyo Olympics, as organisers prepare to make a decision on foreign spectators.
A poll by the Yomiuri Shimbun daily found that only 18 per cent of people who responded were in favour of foreign spectators being allowed into Japan for the coronavirus-delayed games, with 77 per cent against.
Games organisers said last week that they plan to rule on the matter this month, likely before the nationwide torch relay begins on 25 March. But Japanese media say games chiefs have already decided to bar foreign fans.
Tokyo 2020 President Seiko Hashimoto said Friday that organisers “really want to hold the event in full stadiums with fans from around the world” but would find it difficult “if we’re not in a position where we can accept them and the situation with medical facilities isn’t perfect”.
The Yomiuri poll, conducted between 5-7 March on random phone calls, with 1,066 of the 1,977 people contacted responding, also revealed that 45 per cent of respondents were in favour of spectators in general attending the games, with 48 per cent opposed.
CAF TO GET NEW PRESIDENT: onfederation of African Football President Ahmad Ahmad’s five-year ban from football has been reduced to two years, the Court of Arbitration for Sport announced on Monday, ending his hopes of re-election.
The ruling clears the way for South African billionaire Patrice Motsepe to replace Ahmad and become the organisation’s eighth president in its 63-year history.
Ahmad was banned from football for five years by FIFA in November and fined 200,000 Swiss francs after an ethics investigation by world soccer’s governing body, which found the 61-year-old guilty of offering and accepting gifts and other benefits as well as of misappropriation of funds.
On appeal, CAS reduced the ban to two years - meaning Ahmad cannot stand for re-election this week - and cut his fine to 50,000 Swiss francs.
Ahmad, who was also a FIFA vice president, had hoped his appeal would be successful and allow him to seek re-election in Morocco on Friday. Instead, he is effectively sidelined from football politics until November 2022.
Ahmad, a former fisheries minister in his native Madagascar, was elected in 2017 in a surprise triumph over long-standing incumbent Issa Hayatou.
CAS said the documents in the FIFA file did not support the conclusion that Ahmad received any personal benefit.
He was nevertheless found guilty of failure to record various financial transactions, acceptance of cash payments and of making bank transfers of bonuses and indemnities without a contractual or regulatory basis.
He was also judged to be guilty of using CAF funds to take Muslim presidents of African football associations to Mecca on a pilgrimage he initially said he would pay for.
*A version of this article appears in print in the 11 March, 2021 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly