Wednesday,22 November, 2017
Current issue | Issue 1315, (13 -19 October 2016)
Wednesday,22 November, 2017
Issue 1315, (13 -19 October 2016)

Ahram Weekly

Shooting a new record

Egyptian marksmen and women were victorious at the 2016 World Helices Championship held for the first time in Egypt and with the most participants ever, reports Inas Mazhar

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Al-Ahram Weekly

The 2016 World Helices Championship, which took place at the Shooting Club in 6 October City, was held from 4 to 9 October. After days of thrilling competition of more than 400 shooters, a record for this tournament, a lavish closing ceremony was held at the Mena House Hotel, where the winners and participants received trophies and prizes while enjoying the party amidst the ancient history of the pyramids.

The Egyptian team comprising Abdel-Aziz Al-Sousi, Hisham Al-Sawi and Ivangelos Niamontes claimed the gold medal of the veterans event, while the junior team of Moetassem Al-Eish, Ziad Selim and Yassin Eshra were also first.

In the open competition, Egypt finished second behind the US which claimed the gold. The Egyptian team included Mohamed Abou Zeid, Mohamed Fouad and Tarek Mohsen. Argentina placed third.

In the women’s competition, Egypt finished third with a team of Jaida Farid, Reem Safar and Suzanne Gaber. The Egyptians ended behind the British who won gold and the Italians who took the silver medal.

In the over-age competition Egyptians Mustafa Korani, Meithaq Lilikan and Mahmoud Al-Etribi were third behind the British and Italians who won gold and silver respectively.

The overall results saw the Egyptians snatching the world title for the first time from powerful Italy who came in second place. Argentina was third in the overall standings.

The five-day event, held during celebrations marking Egypt’s victory in the 6 October war, saw the participation of 226 players from 15 countries: Egypt, France, Italy, England, the US, Spain, Portugal, Belgium, Argentina, Cyprus, Libya, Tunisia, Greece, South Africa and Algeria.

Host nation Egypt had the largest share of competing players with a total of 105, followed by Argentina, Italy, and England with 35, 29 and 25 players respectively.

The 25th edition of the World Helices Championships was held for the first time in Egypt instead of normally in Europe. In 2013, it took place in Oporto, Portugal and in 2014 and 2015, the championship was held in Venice and Bologna in Italy.

Being held on Africa soil for the first time, the African Shooting Confederation took the opportunity to hold a board meeting on the sidelines of the running competitions. The meeting was headed by Hazem Hosni, president of the Egyptian and African Shooting Confederations.

Egypt’s Minister of Youth and Sports Khaled Abdel-Aziz congratulated the Egyptian shooters for their “distinguished performance and remarkable, unprecedented results.

“This is good news for the sport and Egypt. I think we have been doing well in shooting events worldwide especially winning two fifth places at the Rio Olympic Games two months ago by Afaf Al-Hodhod and Ahmed Amar,” Abdel-Aziz said.

“Bringing such world-class sports events to Egypt helps a lot in proving Egypt is a safe and secure country and therefore becomes a major means of attracting tourists to the country,” Abdel-Aziz said.

The president of the Egyptian Shooting Federation Hazem Hosni said that Egypt had played host several times before to previous international shooting championships but not the world. “Those events which were superbly organised and were real successes helped in restoring and improving Egypt’s image abroad, and thus a boost to the tourism sector in Egypt.”

There has been positive feedback from the tournament. According to officials of the championship, this year’s edition in Cairo, which witnessed the participation of 411 shooters from 15 countries, hit a new record of number of entries.

Tournament director and head of the Organising Committee Harry Vartan said the previous record was set in the World Championships in Rome in 2001, which was attended by 404 shooters. “This tournament is the largest so far, setting a new record,” Vartan said.

Member of the Technical Committee of the International Federation Claude Fattal said that the participation rate of shooters indicated the relevance of Egypt in this game on an international scale, and the success of the organisation of this global event.

President of the International Shooting Federation Jean-Francois Palinkas was thrilled by the high level of participation from around the world. He said the attendance of so many countries and shooters “reflects the leadership of Egypt and their strength in organising and hosting such an international event”.

Head of the Egyptian Shooting Federation Hazem Hosni said he was “really impressed when participating shooters who took part in the tournament’s competition showed their appreciation for the huge effort exerted by the organising committee in bringing out a spectacular and successful event. They also praised the shooting arena and venue of the Shooting Club in 6 October, which is considered one of the best shooting ranges in the world.”

“Most of the officials who represented heads of international, African and Arab delegations also sang Egypt’s praises on organisation and sports facilities in general. Most of them came specifically to the tournament to benefit from Egyptian expertise in organisation and management of such events.

“We proved our ability to host such an important world-class event and we were able to deliver a message of love and peace to the whole world,” Hosni, president of both the Egyptian and African Confederation, said.

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