Al-Ahram Weekly Online   30 March - 5 April 2006
Issue No. 788
Published in Cairo by AL-AHRAM established in 1875

Pentathlon women

Egypt's sportswomen have qualified for the world junior modern pentathlon championship after winning the sixth African Open championship held recently in Cairo, writes Inas Mazhar

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The modern pentathlon comprises five Olympic disciplines: shooting, fencing, swimming, equestrianship and running. The winner must collect the largest number of points overall.

Thirty-one athletes representing 14 countries took part. The Egyptian team gold medal was represented by Omnia Fakhri, Aya Medani and Yasmine Khaled. They claimed first place in shooting and fencing, giving them the overall event.

The Egyptian men's team also won the men's African championship and international event as well. Team A & B took first and second. Team A comprised Ahmed Fakhri, Omar El-Geziri and Yasser Hanafi, whereas team B included Amr El-Geziri, Raouf Hossameddin and Mina Tadrous.

President of the Egyptian and Arab modern pentathlon federations Ahmed Nasser said the Egyptian athletes displayed strong performances and deserved winning the men's and women's tournament and to qualify for the world championships.

"The championship was a big success for Egypt," Nasser said. "The men's team claimed both the gold and silver medals and the women won the gold. These results showed the improvement and progress in the level of our athletes.

"The modern pentathlon is a tough sport. Athletes who play the game are considered the complete athlete because they have to be perfect in all five sports. I congratulate my athletes."

Nasser, a former international and Olympic modern pentathlete, said the African Open is considered an Egyptian international championship because of the small number of African countries who are members of the African federation. Since the rules require not less than five nations taking part in an African event, the International Federation agreed to name it the African Open and Egypt International to make it an official event and to allow Africa to be represented at the World and Olympic events.

South Africa is Egypt's only African competitor.

"It is in our favour to train and compete against strong European countries like the Ukraine, Russia and Canada from the Americas." Nasser added, "To beat them means that we are on the right track, we are progressing."

The Ukraine won the women's swimming and running events while Canada won the equestrian event. The Egyptian men won four of the five events in shooting, fencing, equestrian and running. The Ukraine claimed the swimming event.

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