EGYPT collected its first medal at the London 2012 Olympics, reports Ghada Abdel-Kader. Alaaeddin Abul-Kassem made history on Tuesday night, winning for Egypt a silver medal in fencing. Abul-Kassem thus became the first Egyptian to win a medal in fencing and the only African to ever reach an Olympic final in the sport.
Abul-Kassem, a virtual unknown, took second place in the men's individual foil competition on day four of the Games. His Chinese opponent Lei Sheng took the gold medal after winning a close duel 15-13.
Abul-Kassem's feat was all the more impressive given an injury he picked up in his left arm -- he is left-handed -- in the first period and which needed medical attention. When play resumed in the second period, the score stood at 11-11. At one point Abul-Kassem led 13-11 but could not hang on for what would have been a memorable medal.
Abul-Kassem's route to the final was not easy. The 21-year-old beat four-time world champion Peter Joppich of Germany 15-10 in round 16, and Italy's world No 1 Andrea Cassara 15-10 in the quarter-final. He qualified for the final after beating Korean Choi Byungchul 15-12.