Wednesday,19 September, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1260, (27 August - 2 September 2015 )
Wednesday,19 September, 2018
Issue 1260, (27 August - 2 September 2015 )

Ahram Weekly

Olympian pair

Two of Egypt’s modern pentathletes qualified for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, reports Ghada Abdel-Kader

Al-Ahram Weekly

At the Modern Pentathlon African Championships Olympic qualifications at Cairo Stadium, held from 21-22 August, Egyptian pentathletes Heidi Adel and Eslam Hamed won the honour of representing Egypt and the African continent in the Rio 2016 Olympics in Brazil.

“I am so happy and I feel so proud,” said Adel.

Thirteen male and nine female pentathletes from Egypt, South Africa, Kenya, Mauritius, Madagascar, Senegal, Côte d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso, Nigeria and Namibia were competing.

In the women’s results Adel won first place with a total of 1,194 points -- 227 in fencing, 268 in swimming, 300 in riding and 399 in combined events (running and shooting).

Household name Aya Medani, making a comeback following a three-year layoff, finished second with 1,174 points -- 276 in fencing, 278 in swimming 300 in riding and 320 in combined events. Reem Yakout came in third place with 1,154 points -- 243 in fencing, 281 in swimming 300 in riding and 330 in combined events. Sondous Tarek ended in fourth place with a total of 1,144 points -- 210 in fencing, 251 in swimming 272 in riding and 411 in combined events.

“In swimming I finished in third place. It wasn’t the best result for me. My fencing and equestrian were better,” Adel said.

She added, “It wasn’t an easy task to compete against a champion like Medani but the difference between me and her was only one minute before the combined event. In shooting, Medani won the first and second sets. In the third set, I managed to reach her. My result was very close to hers. I became so enthusiastic to continue. After I finished the fourth set, I started the running. I won first place. I am so good in running. It’s my best sport.”

In the women’s team results, Egypt captured first place, Kenya finished second and Burkina Faso ended third.

In the mixed relay, Medani and Amr Al-Geziri took first place. South Africa and Kenya came in second while Burkina Faso finished third.

In the men’s results, Egyptian Hamed took first place with 1,434 points -- 274 in fencing, 334 in swimming, 296 in riding and 530 in the combined event.

Al-Geziri came in second with 1,415 points -- 284 in fencing, 354 in swimming, 292 in riding and 485 in combined. Omar Al-Geziri finished third with 1,334 points -- 260 in fencing, 337 in swimming, 300 in riding and 437 in combined. South African Berndt Burger finished in fourth place with 1,320 points -- 219 in fencing, 295 in swimming, 300 in riding and 506 in combined.

In the men’s team results, Egypt won first place with 4,036 points while South Africa came in second with 3,733 points.

The Egyptian team consisted of Al-Geziri and his brother Omar, Yasser Hefini and Hamed. The women’s team had four pentathletes: Medani, Adel, Tarek and Yakout.

Former champion Medani returned to the track after a three-year absence. She had announced her shock retirement from the modern pentathlon immediately after the Olympic Games in London in 2012. She qualified for London after taking first place in the African Modern Pentathlon Championship held in Egypt in July 2011. In London, she regressed, finishing in 16th place with 5,136 points. Her scores: 880 in fencing, 1,136 in swimming, 1,124 in riding and 1,996 combined event (running and shooting).
Medani remained one of Egypt’s most high-profile athletes, and not just for her achievements. She was also the only woman pentathlete wearing the hijab, starting in 2008. She became a role model for many women in Egyptian society. Medani was awarded the 2014 IOC Women and Sport Trophy for Africa in December last year.

“It was one of my biggest challenges to return. I lost more than 30 kilogrammes to play again three years after my retirement. I just began training only three months ago. Thank God, I took second place. Thanks to my lovely family and my coaches and all the supporters. It’s enough for me that you never lose hope in me,” she said on her Facebook page.

President of the Egyptian Modern Pentathlon Federation (EMPF) Sherif Al-Erian told Al-Ahram Weekly, “EMPF had tried to persuade Medani to return since November. We worked with her on a private basis completely outside the team. The last four months of her training were very successful. She lost a lot of weight after she got married and had a baby. We are optimistic that she will qualify for Rio 2016 through the ranking system.”

“The maximum qualifying quota is two males and two females for the country. We are so lucky Hamed qualified so early. It will be so easy for Amr and Omar Al-Geziri and Hefini to qualify through their world rankings. EMP will choose two of them for the Olympics,” Al-Erian said.

“Al-Geziri and Medani will compete at the 2015 Ministry of Defence Cup (mixed replay) in Russia on 6 September. Adel and Tarek will travel to Argentina to participate in the UIPM Youth A World Championships from 1-6 September.”

In the ranking of the International Modern Pentathlon Union’s women youth under 21, Adel is the world’s number one with 97 points, followed by Turkish Ilke Ozyuksel with 90 points and Poland’s Natalia Dominiak with 88 points.

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