See for yourself
Martial arts fans will have a chance to see four Egyptian taekwondo players in action in Athens, writes Mohamed El-Sayed
Having failed to qualify for the Olympic Games via the world qualification tournament held in November in France, the taekwondo team made amends last week with the inclusion of four Egyptians in the 2004 Games due to be held in August.
Tamer Salah, Tamer Abdel-Moneim, Israa Abu Halawa and Abeer Abdel-Halim qualified after winning respective gold medals in the African taekwondo qualification tournament held from 22 to 23 January in Cairo. The tournament witnessed the participation of 100 players representing 26 countries.
In the men's event, Egypt's first gold medal was won by Salah in the under-58kg category, beating players from Niger, Gabon and Libya. In the final, a Libyan player withdrew in the second round, resulting in Salah's booking of the first ticket to Athens.
In the under-68kg category, Abdel-Moneim had little difficulty winning another gold, defeating players from Central Africa, Cameroon and Tunisia.
In the women's event, Abu Halawa qualified for the Games after coming first in the under-48kg category. Halawa cruised past players from Tunisia and Lesotho.
Abdel-Halim secured Egypt's fourth place in the Olympics after finishing first in the under-57kg category, beating players from Niger and Ivory Coast.
Sun jae park, vice president of the World Taekwondo Federation, said he never expected such "wonderful organisation" and that Egypt stood a good chance of organising one of the coming world taekwondo championships.
In the meantime, Ahmed El-Fouli, president of the Egyptian federation, was unanimously elected president of the African federation by the general assembly that met on the sidelines of the tournament. El-Fouli is also a member of the World Taekwondo Federation's executive council and is expected to become vice president of the federation. Additionally, the assembly decided to move the headquarters of the African body to Cairo.
In other news, Ghana, Lesotho, Tunisia and Madagascar have offered to host the next edition of the African Men and Women Taekwondo Championships to be held in 2005. The winner will be announced in two months.