Thursday,20 September, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1255, (23 - 29 July 2015)
Thursday,20 September, 2018
Issue 1255, (23 - 29 July 2015)

Ahram Weekly

Just a stone’s throw away

With only a few centimetres left, Egypt’s hammer thrower Mustafa Al-Gamal approaches his dream of qualifying for Rio 2016, reports Ghada Abdel-Kader

Al-Ahram Weekly

To go to the Summer Olympics being held in Rio de Janeiro next year, a heave of at least 78 metres is needed for the hammer throw.

Egypt’s hammer thrower Mustafa Al-Gamal is ever so close. Al-Gamal took first place and the gold medal with a throw of 77.71 metres at the Kaustinen Hammer Throw meet in Finland on 27 June. So Al-Gamal only needs 29cm more.

Al-Gamal, 27, has a chance to make the distance in the IAAF (International Association of Athletics Federation) Hammer Throw Challenge in Moskva, Russia, on 18 July.

“I hope I will qualify,” Al-Gamal told Al-Ahram Weekly.

Al-Gamal has also qualified for the 15th IAAF World Championship in Beijing, China, from 22-30 August. The event will be the largest sport’s spectacle to take place at the Beijing National Stadium since the 2008 Olympics Games in Beijing.

The qualification standard in the hammer throw event for men in Beijing is 76 metres.

“My main target is to reach top form in the IAAF World Championship. My event will be on the first day. I hope to break my 81.27 metres and have a new record,” said Al-Gamal.

President of the Egyptian Athletics Federation (EAF) Walid Ata told Al-Ahram Weekly, “Al-Gamal’s personal best is 81.27 metres in Cairo.”

According to the 2014 IAAF world top rankings, Al-Gamal is world No 3.

Super javelin thrower Ihab Abdel-Rahman, 26, is another of Egypt’s track and field elite. Abdel-Rahman was the world’s No 1 in 2014. He took first place and the gold with a throw 89.21 metres in May 2014 in the Shanghai Diamond League.

The distance had not been achieved in 15 years in IAAF world championships or Olympics Games,” Ata said.

“Throughout Egyptian athletics history we have not had senior world champions but in juniors we have second and third place world champions. The best result ever achieved in athletics during the last 100 years in the discus was achieved by Omar Al-Ghazali. Al-Ghazali was among the top three,” added Ata.

Abdel-Rahman has training camps in Finland and South Africa while Al-Gamal is in Hungary. Both of them competed in the Diamond League and world challenges.

Ata added: “Our main objective this year for Al-Gamal and Abdel-Rahman is to perform well in the IAAF World Championships. Their numbers are improving gradually. We want that they reach their top form before August. And we are expecting that more Egyptian athletes will qualify for the IAAF World Championships, includingAnas Beshir in the 400 metres, and Mustafa Amr and Mohamed Magdi in the shot put.”

On Wednesday last week, Egyptian Minister of Youth and Sports Khaled Abdel-Aziz inaugurated the school for field events at Cairo Stadium. Abdel-Aziz re-opened the training hall after it was renovated. The hall was established in 1999 during the time of a former minister of youth, Alieddin Helal. It had fallen into disrepair.  

In 1999, Nagi Asaad set up the “throwing” school in Egypt. Asaad is a retired Egyptian athlete track and field who represented Egypt in international athletics events in the 1970s and early 1980s in shot put and discus.  

The achievements of the Egyptian team under Assad’s management were described as unprecedented in the history of Egypt’s Athletics Federation.

“We renewed the hall from A to Z and provided it with all the facilities and equipment needed for training. I think it will be a new addition. Egypt is very well-known for its throwers. They are the champions of Africa,” added Ata.

Career highlights:
Mustafa Al-Gamal, 27, is an Egyptian hammer thrower who picked up the sport in 2004 in Ahli Sporting Club. His current world ranking is fourth. In 2014, his best personal throw of 81.27 metres in Cairo in March set a new African record.

In August last year, he won the African Championships in Marrakech with 79.09m. Al-Gamal was No 2 in the continental world champion after taking second place with a throw of 78.89 metres in the 2nd IAAF Continental Cup 2014 in Marrakech, Morocco. He beat the previous record held since 2005 by South African Chris Harmse (80.63 m).

He represented Egypt in the Olympics Games in London in 2012, finishing in 15th place with a throw of 71.69 metres.

He also won a bronze medal with a throw of 71.40 metres at the African Championships in Kenya in 2010. He claimed a silver medal with a throw of 70.23 metres at the Pan Arab Games in Qatar 2011. He took a bronze medal with a throw of 73.81 metres at the African Championships in Benin 2012. He captured a gold medal with a throw of 76.68 metres at the Mediterranean Games in Turkey 2013. He won a gold medal at the Islamic Solidarity Games in Indonesia in 2013.

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