Tuesday,12 December, 2017
Current issue | Issue 1316, (20 - 26 October 2016)
Tuesday,12 December, 2017
Issue 1316, (20 - 26 October 2016)

Ahram Weekly

Silver splash

Heliopolis Club celebrated the 25th anniversary of its international water polo and synchronised swimming championship

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Al-Ahram Weekly

Five nations shared with the host country its silver jubilee anniversary of the annual water polo and synchronised swimming championship: Hungary, Greece, South Africa, Slovakia and the US, reports Inas Mazhar. The water polo event included Hungary’s Honfeid and KSI, Greece’s Panathiankous and Heliopolis of Egypt while Slovakia, South Africa and the US took part in synchronised swimming.

Despite school days, Heliopolis Club had a full house as members and guests of the club witnessed the five-day tough and thrilling competitions which started daily at 6pm.

In water polo, the gold medal went to Honfeid which managed to win all four matches to claim the title. Runners up were Panathiankous, followed by KSI. Surprisingly, Heliopolis finished fourth after losing the play-off game for third place to KSI, even though Heliopolis had beaten the Hungarians 15-14 in the opening match of the event.

While the water polo matches witnessed fierce competition among the participants, synchronised swimming was more of entertainment. The synchro girls, donning their glittering swimming suits and full makeup, gracefully displayed their wonderful routines as they danced to the music. First place went to the Slovakian team, followed by Heliopolis Club and Panathiankous.

And while the opening ceremony welcomed the participants with an extravagant start which included folkloric Egyptian dances and the tanoura show – the spinning of one’s body in repetitive circles while wearing a multi-coloured skirt -- the closing ceremony was more formal. Winners stepped onto the podium to receive their medals and pose for pictures with each other and the officials. But there was another part. In celebration of the club’s silver jubilee, the club honoured all water polo players who have taken part in Olympic Games as members of the Egyptian national team since 1958. The honours list also included players from other teams who had taken part in the Olympic Games up until the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

“When thinking of a special event to be held to mark the 25th anniversary of this international event, we came up with this idea to remember our athletes who have taken part in the Olympic Games. This was the club’s message to them, or a thank you note for making it to the Olympic Games as members of the national team and Heliopolis Club,” said Hazem Shiha, the club’s board member and head of the organising committee.

Heliopolis Club director and tournament director Tarek Metwalli said that the event was becoming more successful every year. “For the past 25 years, the event has been held regularly. It is usually held at this time of the year, ahead of the training and building up process of the club’s water polo and synchronised swimming teams before the start of the national league seasons. This is the best opportunity to prepare them for the nationals as well. We have been dominating the two sports for years and most of our players are always part of the national teams,” Metwalli said.

Despite its age, Heliopolis Club’s annual competition still remains a friendly event but the club is looking to make it official. “So far, it is a friendly competition. Our aim is to include it within the agenda of the International Swimming Federation,” said the club’s treasurer Emad Al-Mesiri,

“But it will take time, effort and money in order to include it in the official programme. Such competitions need certain requirements in terms of number of participating teams and budget. We will be working on that and hope to meet those expectations and transform it into an official event,” Al-Mesiri told Al-Ahram Weekly.

The final was attended by the club’s president Haroun Touni and his board members in addition to top sports officials. In appreciation of the participation of the five nations, the club held a gala dinner at the Baron Hotel in Heliopolis to thank the participants for attending.

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