Wednesday,14 November, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1381, (15 - 21 February 2018)
Wednesday,14 November, 2018
Issue 1381, (15 - 21 February 2018)

Ahram Weekly

Buzzer beater

Egypt crowned its participation at the Arab Women Sports Tournament by winning the basketball gold medal in a last-gasp attempt. Inas Mazhar reports from Sharjah

 

It was an epic final. The result was unknown until the last seconds when Egypt’s Sporting Club of Alexandria snatched a 63-62 victory, leaving their opponents Al-Fuhays of Jordan stunned at the Arab Women Sports Tournament (AWST) in Sharjah, in the United Arab Emirates.

It was extremely close, especially in the last quarter. Sporting, which had won all its six matches in the tournament, took the lead in the first and second quarter, leading by 12 points at one time. However, the Egyptians suddenly lost their momentum and focus and appeared lost as they failed to score, missing the basket several times while their opponents went on a tear to level the score. Within a few minutes, the Jordanians had taken the lead.

After the break, the game became a thriller. Sporting did their best to catch up as Al-Fuhays tried to maintain their lead. They went into the game seeking to avenge their 73-55 loss to the Egyptians in the preliminary round. And actually, they were about to do so. The last five minutes of the match were torturous for the coaches, players and spectators alike who turned the Sharjah Ladies Club into a full house. The crowds went wild with every basket and cheered for both teams as they continued the see-saw encounter with only 20 seconds to go and Sporting leading 61-60. The coaches stood on the line yelling, forcing the referees and organisers to calm them down. When the referee whistled to resume the game, Al-Fuhays scored. Their fans cheered and the girls started celebrating.

There were only eight seconds to go and it looked like the Egyptian dream of the gold medal was lost. But Thoraya Mohamed silenced the cheering Jordanian crowd as she sprinted down court to net the winning basket as the final whistle blew at 63-62.

Egypt’s supporters could not believe it. Sporting had won, more than compensating for their bronze medal in 2016. The silver medal went to Al-Fuhays while the bronze went to the Sharjah Ladies Club, the former gold medalists.

With the victory, Egypt raised its overall medal tally to 14: 10 gold, three silver and one bronze. With four clubs – Sporting, Shams, National Bank of Egypt and Port Fouad – Egypt had participated in five of the nine sports. Sporting took part in fencing and basketball, the National Bank of Egypt in karate, Shams in equestrian and Port Fouad in athletics.


Arab Women Sports Tournament

Before the basketball gold medal, the second week of the 11-day tournament had seen a gold and two silver won in athletics by Asmaa Qenawi and Reda Adel of Port Fouad Club. Adel took the gold in the javelin to defend the title she won in 2016 while Qenawi also defended the silver medal she won in the long jump two years ago.

On the following day, Qenawi added her second silver medal, this time in the triple jump. She was close to the gold, but a sudden twist of her ankle prevented her from going further, leaving the gold to the Algerian Kawther Salmy. Adel failed to add another gold medal to her tally in the shot put, in the end quitting because of a shoulder injury.

Egypt’s other medals in the tournament came in the first week of competition. Sporting Club were in a class of their own. Members 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 Dessouki with a bronze, rounded off an outstanding 1-2-3 finish on the podium.

In the individual open epee, Algerian Yousra Zabouk from Mouloudia Club shared third place with Egypt’s Dessouki. The Egyptians also added the gold medal in the women’s fencing team open epee.


Qenawi

With an overall tally of four gold medals, the National Bank of Egypt Club took top spot on the karate podium, the first time the event has been held as part of AWST. In kumite, Yasmine Hamdi secured a win in the 55kg finals sending Egypt on a roll, with more golds coming from Nariman Mohamed in the under 61kg class and Nada Khaled 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.

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.

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 hosted 68 clubs from 16 countries with 1,000 athletes and administrative personnel taking part – a 70 per cent increase from the last edition.


Mustafa

Held under the patronage of Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohamed Al-Qassimi, wife of the ruler of Sharjah and chairperson of the Sharjah Women’s Sports Foundation (SWSF), the bi-annual event organised by SWSF ran from 2-12 February. Athletes competed in basketball, volleyball, table tennis, fencing, archery, shooting, athletics, show-jumping and for the first time karate.

“The event was truly successful. This is the fourth edition and the tournament has grown bigger with more participation from Arab clubs in the region,” said Nada Askar Al-Nakbi, deputy chairman of the organising committee. “We had a new sport being introduced to the programme, karate. The tournament might have concluded but we are going to start preparing for the fifth edition soon. We have more plans. We are looking for more participation and new sports to be included in future events.”

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