Tuesday,18 June, 2019
Current issue | Issue 1373, (14 - 20 December 2017)
Tuesday,18 June, 2019
Issue 1373, (14 - 20 December 2017)

Ahram Weekly

Show of power

In powerlifting and swimming, Egypt came up big in the Para World Championships in Mexico, reports Abeer Anwar


Sherif Osman

Egypt’s para powerlifting team won five gold medals and two bronze in the 2017 Mexico City World Championships while the swimmers took a silver and two bronze.

On the sidelines, World Para Powerlifting announced that Sherif Osman has been elected the sport’s first athlete liaison following an election. Egypt’s three-time Paralympic and world champion received 82 votes, finishing ahead of Nigeria’s Rio 2016 gold medallist, Lucy Ejike (26), and Great Britain’s 2014 world champion Ali Jawad (24).

Osman will serve a four-year term (2018-2021) on the Sport Technical Committee, acting as liaison between the athletes and the World Para Powerlifting Management Team, representing the views, interests and rights of the athletes and making their voices heard.

The 35-year-old triple Paralympic champion, still in action, collected Egypt’s first gold medal and his third world title in Mexico after lifting 205kg in the men’s up to 59k, more than three times his body weight, a personal best and an African record.

“I have to thank everyone for this medal and the honour I was bestowed and I will do my best to serve all my colleagues and teammates. I have trained hard and prepared well for this event and I am very satisfied with the gold medal. It was a great opportunity for me to raise Egypt’s name and flag to the top.”

Egypt finished fourth in the medals tally with five gold medals and two bronze. China topped the table with 12 medals, followed by Nigeria with 10 and Iran in third with nine medals.

In addition to Osman, the Egyptian para powerlifting medals came from Mustafa Khalil in 49kg lifting 136kg, Mohamed Al-Deeb in the 97kg lifting 221kg, Rehab Ahmed  in the 50kg weight category lifting 113kg and after winning gold at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, Randa Mahmoud extended her winning streak, lifting 138kg in the over 86kg to successfully defend her world title she won in Dubai in 2014.

“I want to dedicate this medal to my country,” Mahmoud said. “I am very happy with this medal. It is a privilege and an honour to have won this medal. I feel so emotional. The Mexicans were amazing. They motivated me with their chants and I felt so supported.”

In swimming, Ayatollah Ayman made Egyptian history by being the first female para swimmer to win a medal in a world championship. Able bodied Farida Osman, in Budapest over the summer, stormed to a personal best in the 50 fly final, placing third, Egypt’s first medal of any colour at a World Championships. And now Ayman has entered the elite club.

Ayman collected a silver medal in the women’s 100 m freestyle S6 and a bronze in the women’s 400m freestyle S6. “I am very delighted with the two medals and I can’t believe that at last I was able to win a medal in a world championship,” she said. Ayman came in 10th place in the 2016 Rio De Janeiro Paralympics in the 100m freestyle. She qualified for the World Championships after winning silver and bronze medals in the Berlin International Championship held in June.

Teammate Hani Abdel-Salam took the bronze medal in the men’s 50m butterfly S5.

Ayatallah Ayman

Meanwhile, World Para Powerlifting has confirmed that Astana, the capital city of Kazakhstan, will stage the 2019 World Championships. It was chosen over the Kazakh city of Almaty due to stronger support from the city’s government which will result in improvements in the venue and a wider promotion and development of the sport across the country and Asia.

The championship will now take place between 29 June and 6 July instead of the original dates of 28 July-3 August. The Junior World Championships will be held on 29 June. The opening ceremony will be held one day later before competition for the senior categories gets underway.

A “Raise the Bar!” anti-doping seminar will be conducted from 27-28 June. Raise the Bar – Say No to Doping! seeks to reach out to athletes and their support networks at international competitions to give them the opportunity to speak with and learn from experts with years of anti-doping knowledge and experience. A sports forum will also take place on 7 July.

World Para Powerlifting Senior Manager Jorge Moreno said: “We are convinced that this change will help us deliver an even better World Championships, the first to be held in Kazakhstan. We want to thank the government of the city of Astana for their support and trust. This event completes our major international calendar for this Paralympic cycle and begins the next. It will also be a great opportunity to continue developing the sport across Asia and the world.

“Kazakhstan is a strong country in powerlifting and is getting better each year. In 2015 they organised a successful Asian Championships and we are sure new heights will be reached at the 2019 World Championships,” Moreno said.

“We are pleased that the 2019 World Para Powerlifting Championships will be held in Kazakhstan and we will take an active part in it,” Yerlan Suleimenov, executive director of the Kazakhstan National Paralympic Committee, said.

“It is no secret that the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games and the silver medal won by powerlifter Raushan Koishibayeva was a brilliant example that this sport has great potential in our country, and it has to be developed.

“I think that the hosting of the 2019 World Championships is an excellent way to show that para sport is making steps forward and gaining momentum in Kazakhstan. It will give an incentive for people with impairments to get involved in sport in our country.”

World Para Powerlifting has also confirmed the capital city of Algeria as host city for the 2018 African Championships, between 27 and 29 July. A Raise the Bar! seminar will take place in Algiers from 25-26 July.

A high level of competition is expected in Algiers since Africa produces several of the strongest powerlifters in the world, including Nigerians Lucy Ejike, Ndidi Nwosu, Josephine Orji and Paul Kehinde and Egyptians Osman and Mahmoud.

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