Saturday,16 December, 2017
Current issue | Issue 1282, (11- 17 February 2016)
Saturday,16 December, 2017
Issue 1282, (11- 17 February 2016)

Ahram Weekly

Hard court

The Arab Women Sports tournament comes to an end tomorrow with Egyptian clubs holding their own at the two-week event, especially in basketball, Inas Mazhar reports from Sharjah

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Al-Ahram Weekly

Altogether 58 clubs representing 18 Arab countries are taking part in the third edition of the event which was held in 2012 and 2014. Almost 1,000 female athletes are competing in volleyball, basketball, athletics, fencing, archery, equestrian, table tennis and shooting. Four Egyptian clubs entered -- Gezira in show jumping, Police Federation in archery, Port Fouad in athletics and Sporting Club of Alexandria in basketball and fencing.

The basketball final culminates the third edition of this club tournament for females. Before the champion is crowned, the play-off for the bronze will be played. The winners of the semi-finals which are scheduled for today 11 February are to meet tomorrow in what is being talked about as the most exciting competition of all.

Egypt, represented by Sporting Club of Alexandria, won three matches in the preliminaries which saw seven teams divided into two groups. The first group included only three teams -- Sporting, Orthodox Club of Jordan and the Girls Club of Qatar. The second group comprised Sharjah Women’s Club, Al-Negma of Bahrain, Beni Yas of the Emirates and Olympic of Algeria. Each group played a round-robin tournament of two rounds.

Egypt easily won its first match against the Girls Club of Qatar as they outclassed their opponents 51-37. The second match against the Orthodox Club of Jordan was the toughest and most thrilling of all, a match that was described by basketball officials as an early final. The Egyptians held their composure and managed to win 48-47.

It was a very close game that took the breath away of spectators none of whom could predict who would win. Orthodox kept the lead until Sporting managed to level by the end of the half. Again, Orthodox, which includes two American professional players, took the lead 34-30 by the end of the third quarter.

With only two minutes to go in the game, Sporting were leading by five points. But within less than a minute, the Jordanians had hit two baskets but could not break the one-point difference.

On Monday morning, just 12 hours after beating Orthodox, Sporting played their third game against the Girls Club of Qatar in the return match. While officials, media and spectators expected the Sporting girls to be exhausted after their heroics the day before, they stunned all by appearing even stronger as they overpowered their Qatari opponents by dominating the first three games and winning 64-59, booking a place in the semi-final regardless of the result of the next match.

The first three quarters had Sporting in the lead 20-5, 30-17, 49-33. But with only two minutes to go in the game, the Qataris managed to shave Sporting’s lead from 10 points to only three. However, experience paid off as Sporting held on for the crucial win.

Egyptian Raneem Al-Gedawi said she was happy with the victory which came less than 12 hours after Sporting beat the Qatari outfit. “It was very difficult. Yesterday’s match was very tough. We went to bed after midnight and were very tired today. It’s the first time any team plays two games in 12 hours in any competition. But we’re glad we did it.”

According to Rania Radwan, Sporting Club’s head of delegation, basketball was the most thrilling among the eight other sports in the event. “The game against the Jordanian club was so tough. We’re glad we managed to win since our team is still young and the Jordanians have an advantage of having two professional American players, the play-maker and the pivot. It made it difficult for us. But finally we did it and hope we can feature in the final match,” Radwan told Al-Ahram Weekly after the game.

However, Radwan complained that the matches were being played on a daily basis. “The schedule is too tight and very hectic. Our game against Orthodox ended on Sunday around 10pm and by the time the girls reached the hotel, showered, ate and got ready to go to bed, it was almost midnight and we had to play our next game against Qatar at 10am which meant the girls had to wake up very early.”

Sporting is also taking part in the two-day fencing event which started on Monday while Police Federation is in another two-day event, archery, which was scheduled to start on Tuesday.

Gezira and Port Fouad picked up seven medals overall.

Show jumping started first with Gezira winning a silver medal in the individual competition and the bronze in the team event. Amina Ahmed Ammar for Egypt claimed the silver medal while the team of Ammar, Karen Surial, Joozian Hakim and Zeinab Abdel-Hamid claimed the bronze medal.

According to Khaled Assem, head of the equestrian club delegation, it was a very good result for the girls. “It is an achievement considering our girls played with the competition’s horses, not their own. They were not used to these horses and had only one day to train while the gold and silver medalists from Saudi Arabia and the Emirates took part with their own horses,” Assem told the Weekly.

In athletics, the Port Fouad Club of Port Said finished fifth in the overall medals standings of the four-day competition. Egypt took five medals in track and field, gold, two silver and two bronze. Reda Adel claimed the gold medal in the javelin but missed the bronze medal after finishing fourth in the discus. Asmaa Qenawi claimed two silver medals in the long jump and the heptathlon while Merihan Zayan captured the bronze medal in the shot put. Port Fouad added another bronze in the 4x100 metres relay clocking 1.02.40 minutes with a team consisting of Qenawi, Adel, Zayan and Maria Moussa.

Head of the Port Fouad delegation Ahmed Radwan said they were thrilled and proud with the achievement. “We participated with only four players so this is an achievement when two of them are juniors, only 16 and 18 years old, and who are taking part for the first time in an international event. Most clubs brought many players and took part in almost all disciplines. But it is a great experience for the girls each of whom had to play in two or three disciples.” Radwan, board member of Port Fouad, told the Weekly.

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