26 Aug. - 1 Sep. 1999
Issue No. 444
|Published in Cairo by AL-AHRAM established in 1875|
Egypt Region International Economy Opinion Focus Culture Features Profile Travel Living Sports People Time Out Chronicles Cartoons Letters
Three presentsEGYPT'S internationally-acclaimed marksman Ayman Mazhar performed the Umrah, or out-of-season pilgrimage, after winning two gold medals in the double trap singles and team's events at the Pan-Arab Games. Before flying to Mecca, Mazhar said, "Now I'm waiting for the third gift... the Umrah."
The bestEGYPT'S Shamseddin Mahmoud retained the title of the Best Arab Swimmer after breaking the Arab record in the 50m breaststroke with a time of 30.14 seconds. Mahmoud first landed the title in the 1997 Arab Games in Lebanon when he won four gold medals in the 100m and 200m breaststroke, the 4x100m freestyle relay and the 4x100m mixed styles relay. This year, however, a pulled muscle prevented him from participating in the four events. He entered only two: the 50m breaststroke and the 4x100m mixed styles relay, winning both. Mahmoud has had a golden history in the pool. In 1988 he took four gold medals in the African Juniors Championship in Zimbabwe. In 1990, competing as the youngest swimmer in the African championship in Tunisia, he won gold, silver and bronze medals.
All-star kickboxersJORDAN, the host nation of the Games, has proposed forming an all-star Arab kickboxing team which would compete in international championships. The proposal, which was given the green light by the executive committee of the Arab Sports Federation, foresees an Arab team of kickboxers made up of gold medal winners at the current Games.
Riding walkoutTHE LIBYAN equestrian team withdrew from the Games and Egypt almost followed suit after the organising committee drew up a new rule designed to make it easier to win medals. The rule gives riders an opportunity to participate in the main Grand Prix event with faults they had collected in previous events. In international tournaments, in comparison, only riders with a clean slate can enter the Grand Prix. The participating teams complained to the International Equestrian Federation but the decision was not reversed. Egypt threatened to pull out, but decided to stay on. However, following the revised format, a gold medal is no longer on the cards for the Egyptians.
Drugs on the trackTWO Moroccan female athletes have tested positive and were stripped of their medals. Seham Al-Houneifi was eliminated after having taken second place in the 100 metres. Her silver medal went instead to Egypt's Karima Meskeen. In the other incident, Karima Shahin was forced to hand over her gold medal in the 4x100m to Tunisia.