Thursday,19 October, 2017
Current issue | Issue 1300, (16 - 22 June 2016)
Thursday,19 October, 2017
Issue 1300, (16 - 22 June 2016)

Ahram Weekly

Big in Rio

Egypt’s youth and sports minister is looking forward to this summer’s Olympic Games as he speaks to Inas Mazhar

Abdel-Aziz
Abdel-Aziz
Al-Ahram Weekly

So far, 124 Egyptian male and female athletes have booked their tickets to the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro this summer. The figure would make this delegation the biggest in the history of Egypt’s participation in the Olympic Games.

“Well, we are glad so many Egyptian athletes in different sports have managed to qualify to the world’s biggest sports event in the world,” Egypt’s Youth and Sports Minister Khaled Abdel-Aziz told Al-Ahram Weekly. “What makes us also proud is that those athletes not only qualified through continental qualification tournaments but also by taking part in world and international events which increased their world rankings, thus allowing them the Olympic qualifications. Some others have even either broken their own records or set new world records in international events which then allowed them qualification to the Olympics.”

Abdel-Aziz confirmed that all athletes who have qualified for the Olympic Games will definitely travel to the Games. “It has been agreed with all federations that whoever made the effort and earned the qualification ticket to the Games should join the delegation with no limit to the number.”

In previous Olympic Games, some sports federations would select some athletes who qualified to travel and deny others, claiming they would not achieve good results.

“The Olympic Games were created on a motto of ‘participation’ for all those who qualified, so as I said, any athlete who qualifies will travel and will have his or her chance to participate. Who knows, they might achieve better results.”

According to the minister, Egypt stands a chance of winning seven or eight medals in this summer’s Olympic Games. “But this is not certain. Nothing is guaranteed when it comes to sports and competition. We can say that we are looking at three or four medals from those eight. So, we’ll keep our fingers crossed.

“Hopefully we could go further and make history. The ministry has provided all sports federations with all facilities required for preparing for the Olympic Games and has been very generous with all sports, allowing them to build up for the Games by taking part in international camps, friendlies and official international and world champions, whatever the costs. So, we hope the Egyptian delegation makes an impressive record in Rio,” Abdel-Aziz said.

The highest number of medals won by Egypt in an Olympic Games was five in Athens 2004. They included a gold, a silver and three bronze medals.

On another note, Abdel-Aziz talked about meetings concerning the draft of a new sports law which he said will continue until a final version is presented to members of parliament for a vote. There is no deadline for when this might occur.

“As a representative of the government, we at the Ministry of Youth and Sports have done our job. We have drafted a law, which has also gone through long months of discussion and debate, and presented it to the Youth and Sports Committee of parliament. Now, it is in their hands to discuss it, make amends to the articles, and omit or add new ones. This is completely up to them.

“Personally, I was invited by the parliamentary committee for discussions with members of sports bodies. But still, it is their call. They are the ones who decide when it is time to put this law to the general session to a vote,” Abdel-Aziz added.

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