|Al-Ahram Weekly Online
2 - 8 August 2001
|Published in Cairo by AL-AHRAM established in 1875||Current issue | Previous issue | Site map|
A Francophone floweringSixth place may not have been quite as high as they had hoped, but it was six places higher than their last Games' rank. Abeer Anwar looks at Egypt's performance at this year's Francophone Games
It was seven years ago that the last Egyptian delegation competed in the Francophone Games; long enough for them not to know just quite what they would do. In this year's Games that took place in Canada and ended on 26 July, the team proved they had taken steps forward, ranking sixth with 12 medals; four gold, four bronze, and four silver.
Tough competition at the boxing event
It was a solid performance on all counts, and one to fly home content with. For the Egyptian Youth team, however, the outcome was more than just commendable. Ironic, really, given that the decision to send them to the Games was received with much raucous and grumbling -- especially given that they had just clinched the bronze medal at the Youth World Cup. The team's technical manager, Shawqi Gharib, felt otherwise.
"It will depend on a number of new faces," Gharib had said of his choice, explaining that such a move with counteract any potential team burnout syndrome.
It worked. Switching in the new players for the professionals every other match did wonders; the team lost just one match -- their semi-final showdown with Morocco, in which they went down 3-5 on penalties shootout. They came out in third place; another bronze medal to their name.
Their winning streak saw them strike out Bulgaria 2- 0, Canada 2-1, Gabon 4-3, and Mali 3-1.
Egypt's boxers, too, played an impressive game, with two of the country's lesser know names, Mohamed Mamdouh and Saleh Abdel-Bari, clinching gold in the 67kg and 63.5kg, respectively.
In the 71kg category, Mohamed Heikal lost his final match to a Canadian, coming out with the silver.
Overall, quite a remarkable run, bringing them out in second place after Romania. The single scar was the positive drug test by 91kg Bakr El-Ashri, who clouded the day by losing his chances of winning the predicted gold or silver medal.
The stellar play wasn't quite so encouraging in athletics, with just one bronze medal by Walid Abdel- Razek in the javelin -- a 72.64 meter throw. In Judo, though, Haitham Awad took home a gold in the 73kg category, and Mohamed Abu Median and Bassel Gharabawi took two silvers in the 81 and 100kg respectively. Egyptian women's champion Heba Rashid clinched the bronze.
That wasn't all. The medals kept rolling in.
Table tennis brought with it much flowering, with El-Sayed Lashin winning the gold in the individuals competition; making it double glory given that he was the youngest Egyptian competing. Lashin cruised the early rounds, really proving his steel in the last, in a close call with Romanian Andrew Fellimon.
Lashin walked away victorious, capping the shining performance of this year's Egyptian delegation.
Six years later, another six ranks up?
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