Seven possible medals
Egyptian athletes are busy preparing for London 2012, reports Ghada Abdel-Kader
Only seven weeks left before the beginning of the 2012 Olympic Games in London starting from 27 July to 12 August. London will become the first city to host the modern Olympic Games three times, the others being in 1908 and 1948. Around 10,500 athletes from 204 national Olympic committees are expected to compete in 26 sports.
In Beijing 2008, Egypt managed to win only one medal, a bronze, by Hisham Mesbah in judo.
In the Olympic Games in Athens 2004, Egypt won five medals after an absence of 20 years from the medals table. A gold medal was won by heavyweight wrestler Karam Gaber, a silver medal by Mohamed Ali in boxing, two more bronze medals earned by boxers Mohamed Al-Sayed and Ahmed Ismail, as well as Tamer Bayoumi's bronze in taekwondo.
Secretary-General of the Egyptian Olympic Committee (EOC) El-Motaz Sonbol told Al-Ahram Weekly that the Egyptian delegation is 166-strong and includes 104 athletes (71 men and 33 women) plus 62 administrators, coaches and physicians. "The delegation, headed by EOC Vice-President Ahmed El-Fouli, will fly to London on 26 July and returns on 13 August. They will take part in equestrianship, shooting, modern pentathlon, table tennis, wrestling, artistic gymnastics, rhythmic gymnastics, rowing, weightlifting, football, taekwondo, athletics, archery, judo, synchronised swimming, boxing, fencing and badminton.
"Until now, only 39 athletes have confirmed their participation. The other athletes still have until 3 July. The delay is due to some federations who didn't finish the final qualifications among their athletes which will decide who is going to represent Egypt.
"Egypt is expected to win seven medals in combat sports boxing, fencing, wrestling, judo and taekwondo. Usually, though, the results are unpredictable. No one knows who is going to win or lose till the last minute of matches.
"Greco-Roman wrestler and Olympics 2004 gold medalist Karam Gaber and Egyptian world champion Mohamed Abdel-Fattah have a good opportunity to win gold medals. Modern pentathlon world champion Aya Medani, boxer Mohamed Ramadan and shooters Nourhan Amer and Ayman Fayez are other hopefuls, as is the case in table-tennis," Sonbol added.