Wednesday,23 May, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1380, (8 - 14 February 2018)
Wednesday,23 May, 2018
Issue 1380, (8 - 14 February 2018)

Ahram Weekly

Good for them

It was a fruitful first week for Egyptian sportswomen at the 2018 Arab Women Sports Tournament. Inas Mazhar reports from Sharjah

 

Egypt clinched 10 medals in three out of the nine sports included in the 2018 Arab Women Sports Tournament currently taking place in Sharjah, in the United Arab Emirates: three gold, one silver and one bronze medal in fencing, four gold in karate and one gold in equestrian. Egypt is taking part in only four sports in the fourth edition of AWST. Basketball is the only sport left for the Egyptians in the competition.

The fourth – and largest – edition of AWST was inaugurated earlier this week at the Al-Majaz Amphitheatre in Sharjah. Themed ‘The World Is Your Court – Together Victorious’, the tournament is hosting 68 clubs from 16 countries and 1,000 athletes and administrative personnel taking part – a 70 per cent increase on the last edition.

Organised by the Sharjah Women’s Sports Foundation, the 11-day event runs from 2-12 February during which the athletes are competing in basketball, volleyball, table tennis, fencing, archery, shooting, athletics, show-jumping and for the very first time, karate.

The victories and medals came rolling since the first day of competition, starting with fencing which has produced some stunning results for Egyptian Sporting Club which took two gold medals, plus one silver and a bronze.


basketball

Held under the patronage of Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al-Qasimi, wife of the ruler of Sharjah and chairperson of the Sharjah Women’s Sports Foundation (SWSF), the tournament has seen the Egyptian club in a class of its own. Mariam Al-Zuhairi, who won the individual open foil category, Nardeen Ihab Shawki, winner of the individual open epee, Sara Tamer Nono, with a silver in the same category and Nourhan Osama Dosouki with a bronze, rounded off an outstanding 1-2-3 on the podium.

In the individual open foil, Emirati Latifa Salem Al-Hosani from the Sharjah Women’s Sports Club won silver, while Bahrain’s Maram Mohammed Abdul Rasool and Maha Al-Dosari from the Al-Halah Club collected the bronze medals.

In the women’s individual open epee, Algerian Yusra Zabouk from Mouloudia Club shared third place with Egypt’s Dosouki.

On the second day, the Egyptians added the gold medal to the women’s fencing team open epee. The competition took place at the gymnasium of the Sajaya Young Ladies of Sharjah.

With an overall tally of four gold medals, the National Bank of Egypt Club took a top spot on the karate podium in the first time the event has been held as part of AWST. Close behind, but unable to keep up the pressure was the Algerian Sports Association with three gold medals and one bronze and in third place, the UAE with a total of one gold, one silver and one bronze.


Fencing

In kumite, Yasmine Hamdi secured a win in the 55kg finals, putting Egypt on a high, with more golds coming from Nariman Mohammed in the under 61kg class and Neda Khalid in the under 68kg category. The day was rounded off perfectly for the Egyptian club as they defeated the Algerian Sports Association 2-1 in the finals of the team competition.

Although the karate kids from Egypt were in outstanding form, the Algerians were always in contention and completely dominated the kata after Manal Kamlieh secured a sweeping 5-0 win over Salama Jassim from the Sharjah Sports Club for Women in the individual finals. Algerian Sports Association also continued to show their strength with a 3-2 win over the Sharjah Sports Club for Women in team kata.

In a convincing 2-0 win, 22-year-old Emirati Howra Mohammed Abbas from Al-Nasr Club won gold in the under 50kg kumite and secured for the UAE a highly respectable third place in the overall event.

In equestrian, Egypt’s Farah Mustafa of Al-Shams Club snatched the gold medal in show jumping after displaying an impressive clear round, clocking just 39.10 secs to top the standings. She was followed by Sarah Armouti of Jordan in second place with 41.17 secs and UAE Iman Al-Moheiri of Sharjah Club who clocked 41.30 secs.

The 18-year-old Mustafa told Al-Ahram Weekly that the achievement was her biggest ever. “I am really glad I did it. The competition wasn’t easy but I am really happy. Now, I am so ambitious and hope for more to come.”

Coach Mohamed Al-Gayar told the Weekly that Farah’s achievement was “great” considering she was riding a borrowed horse. “All the competitors were riding their own horses except the Egyptians. We borrowed the horses from the Sharjah Club only 48 hours before the competition began and Farah and the rest of our girls did their best to train during these two days. This is what makes the achievement astounding,” Al-Gayar said.


Arab Women Sports Tournament

In basketball, Sporting Club of Alexandria had won its debut with a strong performance against Kuwait’s Al-Fataa Club 87-71 before scoring an impressive win over Jordan’s Al-Faheys Club 73-55. The Egyptians are to play two more matches in the group against Jeddah of Saudi Arabia and the host nation Sharjah ladies. According to Sporting’s head coach, the team is doing well so far and is determined to reach the final and claim the gold medal. In the third edition, Sporting Club won the bronze medal.

Meanwhile, Egypt’s world squash champion Nour Al-Sherbini made her debut at AWST by setting foot on Sharjah’s first squash court, located at the SWSF sports club for women.

Receiving a warm welcome by SWSF players and head coaches, Al-Sherbini explored the facility and provided a short display of her award-winning skills, giving audiences an entertaining and educational background behind the advanced dynamics of the sport.

The Egyptian champion, with a career high of nine world championship titles and more than 19 world titles across various categories, highlighted SWSF’s strategic move of introducing the new squash facility for women. She also hailed SWSF’s dedicated efforts in continuously pursuing initiatives that empower and support Arab female athletes in Sharjah and across the region.

Al-Sherbini also expressed the importance of such facilities and events, and the opportunities it provides to female athletes who enjoy playing in a clean, fair and competitive environment.

Many senior personalities, heads of Arab sports committees and guests from the Arab world attended the opening ceremony. Representatives of the athletes, referees and judges took the athletic oath, expressing their commitment to honest and fair competition as well as a true sense of integrity.

In his opening address, head of the Organising Committee Sheikh Khaled bin Ahmad bin Sultan Al-Qasimi welcomed the competitors and guests to Sharjah, sharing the message of Sheikha Jawaher. “Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al-Qasimi’s thoughts share an immense pride towards what Sharjah has accomplished in its dedicated care and support towards women in sports,” Al-Qasimi said.

“As the fourth edition of AWST begins, in line with Sharjah’s strategic vision that was established under the directives of His Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Muhammad Al-Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council Ruler of Sharjah, and his wife Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al-Qasimi, this event exemplifies the ongoing efforts to not only elevate women in sports, but also to empower them at all levels and in all fields.

“The tournament highlights the fundamental role of women in leading change in our region, and in creating a significant shift in terms of progress, culture and development in the Arab world. The athletes that bring us together today are instrumental in building a generation of female leaders who believe in their capabilities.

Concluded Al-Qasimi: “The UAE is enabling women to broaden their horizons without compromise and as this edition of the tournament is inaugurated today, the Emirate of Sharjah will become a true capital of Arab women in sports. Each match, contest, competition and challenge raises the status of female athletes and highlights their ability to represent their countries in other world class international events as role models and ambassadors of Arab women.”

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