Friday,22 February, 2019
Current issue | Issue 1121, 8-14 November
Friday,22 February, 2019
Issue 1121, 8-14 November

Ahram Weekly

Open for everyone

Egypt’s tennis talents will compete in the World Wheelchair Team Cup African qualifications, reports Ghada Abdel-Kader

Al-Ahram Weekly

Under the auspices of the Egyptian Tennis Federation (ETF), Egypt hosted the third edition of the Smash National Wheelchair Tennis Championship at the Smash Tennis Academy in Cairo from 19-20 October. The tournament was divided into individual, double men and women’s events, and juniors (mixed boys and girls under 16).
This year, 30 tennis players (20 men, four women and six juniors) participated in the tournament. “The number of players increased in comparison to last year, when it was only 16,” director of the championship Shaimaa Sami said.
Egyptian winners Mohamed Ali, Hassan Mohamed and Neama Ahmed will next compete in the World Team Cup African qualifications in Kenya from 17-20 January. Participating countries are Kenya, Morocco, Ghana, Gambia, Egypt, Zimbabwe, Nigeria and South Africa. The event will produce the winners of the men and women’s events. Qualifiers will represent Africa in the World Team Cup in Italy from 20-26 May 2013.
“In the World Team Cup African qualifications in March we finished in fourth place. The players were still in the beginning. Now, they have gained more experience. We are hoping to win first place because the level of performance of the players has increased,” added Sami.
In the men’s individual, Ali took first place, Hassan Mohamed came second and Walid Al-Hadidi finished third.
In doubles, Ahmed Saleh and Al-Hadidi won first place, Ali and Walid Ismail finished second, and Mohamed and Al-Kahlawi Abdel-Atti took third.
In the women’s individual Neama Ahmed captured first place, Mageda Makar took second and Nada Ahmed third.
The results for juniors (mixed boys and girls U16), Hassan Abdou won first, Mohamed Emara took second and Youssef Hussein finished third.
Sami, who is also head of the wheelchair tennis committee in ETF, told Al-Ahram Weekly, “This is a newborn committee inside ETF. Wheelchair tournaments are still unknown in sporting clubs. One of ETF’s plans in 2013 is to send more tennis players to clubs and hold three championships every three months.”
About the choice of tennis players, Sami added, “It depends mainly on the type of disability, not their level of performance. It’s open and you don’t have to be of a certain age to start playing tennis.”
On the preparations for the Egyptian team, Sami said it will be a closed training camp for two weeks before travelling. “It will be held in Cairo Stadium or the Sports Olympic Centre in Maadi. They already train three days a week, in Cairo and Alexandria.”
Wheelchair tennis is one form of tennis for those who have disabilities in their lower bodies. The size of courts, balls, and rackets are the same, but there are two major differences: the players use specially designed wheelchairs and the ball may bounce up to two times.
The BNP Paribas World Team Cup is the wheelchair tennis equivalent of the Davis Cup and Fed Cup. There are divisions for men, women, quads and a junior event supported by the Cruyff Foundation. It is held annually with a different nation playing host each year.
The World Team Cup was created in 1985 due to the growth of foreign participation in the US Open Wheelchair Tennis Championships. It began more as a fun event that was used as a warm-up tournament the weekend before the US Open. It was also felt that it would create international camaraderie and that one day the tournament would stand on its own. Just six men’s teams competed in the inaugural event with women joining the competition with two teams the following year.
In 2012, the BNP Paribas World Team Cup was held in Asia for the first time, with Seoul playing host to the event in its new format from 21-27 May.
Earlier in the year regional qualifications were held in Africa, the Americas, Asia and Europe as part of the new format, allowing nations the chance to win places in either the men’s World Group 2 or women’s World Group for the BNP Paribas 2012 World Team Cup in South Korea.

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