Monday,23 April, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1382, (22 - 28 February 2018)
Monday,23 April, 2018
Issue 1382, (22 - 28 February 2018)

Ahram Weekly

Science fitness

DNAFit UK is preparing Egyptian athletes for the World Cup and 2020 Tokyo Olympics, reports Inas Mazhar

Thanks to DNAFit, the pharaohs made it to the AFCON finals
Thanks to DNAFit, the pharaohs made it to the AFCON finals

Leading UK genetics company DNAFit will help prepare leading Egyptian athletes for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics following a new partnership signed this week with the Egyptian Modern Pentathlon Federation (EFMP).

The pioneering new relationship will see the Egyptian National Olympic Committee (ENOC) incorporate the use of DNAFit’s genetic tests into the individual training and diet plans for all potential Olympic representatives, setting them on a unique pathway to Tokyo 2020. The deal was announced at the headquarters of the ENOC in Cairo, attended by Sherif Al-Erian, ENOC secretary-general and president of the EFMP, and Yehia Debes, ENOC board member.

In the lead up to Tokyo, the patented DNAFit swab test will be used to analyse genetic information and create an incredibly advanced profile of each individual athlete. This data will be used by the EFMP to work with athletes to create bespoke programmes including personal pre and post-event nutrition, recovery plans and to set individual training focuses.

The partnership was launched through an initial agreement with the EFMP which becomes the first member federation to act on the recommendation from the ENOC to apply the use of DNAFit in its testing and sports science capabilities.

“This is an exciting partnership that will go a long way to ensuring our athletes have the best possible preparation for future competitions and the upcoming 2020 Tokyo Olympics. We are delighted that the Egyptian Federation of Modern Pentathlon has embraced the potential of genetics, and urge other member federations to explore for themselves,” said EFMP President Al-Erian.

Debes added that the EFMP is just the beginning of the partnership with DNAFit. “We are hoping and planning to add more federations and individual athletes to the programme in the future.”

Avi Lasarow, CEO of DNAFit, said it was a proud day to be endorsed by the Egyptian Olympic Committee. “We very much are looking forward to working with their elite athletes to prepare them for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. It is further evidence of Egypt’s proactive attitude in adopting the most pioneering approaches to sports science, and we are excited to continue on our journey together,” Lasarow said.

Mustafa Ali, head of DNAFit Egypt, added that they were delighted that the EFMP will be the first confirmed partner with the ENOC. “We are looking forward to following suit soon with all of the member federations. These are exciting times for Egyptian sport, and we are delighted to be using our knowledge and insight at DNAFit to make Egypt the best prepared nation at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics,” Ali said.

The partnership extends DNAFit’s relationship in the country following the announcement of their extended partnership with the Egyptian Football Association (EFA) last year. DNAFit will work with the sports science department to integrate insight from DNA tests of all players in the lead up to the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.

As Egypt prepares for its first World Cup appearance since 1990, DNAFit will be playing a key role after extending their pioneering relationship with the EFA.

The continued partnership, which was celebrated at the British Embassy in Cairo on Sunday, will see Egypt continue to use DNAFit’s genetic tests to inform their individual player about training and diet plans, creating arguably the most hyper personalised approach to sports science of any nation at the World Cup. The deal will see a specialist team of DNAFit sport scientists work closely with the EFA’s medical and coaching staff in the crucial training camps.

The partnership follows a hugely successful year for both parties which began with Egypt reaching the final of the African Cup of Nations in February 2017, before securing tickets to Russia with their first World Cup finals qualification in more than a quarter of a century. This week’s announcement came at a specially convened conference in Cairo attended by Héctor Cúper, Egypt’s head coach, and John Casson, British ambassador to Egypt.

Since the lead up to the Africa Cup of Nations, all Egyptian national team players have had their DNA tested and analysed by DNAFit. The patented DNAFit swab test was used to analyse genetic information and create an incredibly advanced profile of each individual player.

“This data continues to be used by EFA medical staff and coaches,” said Egypt’s team doctor Mohamed Abul-Ela.

“It will be a proud moment to lead Egypt into the FIFA World Cup in Russia, and we do so knowing we are giving ourselves the best preparation possible,” Abul-Ela said. “The DNA testing project led by our medical team alongside DNAFit means we now have a better understanding of our players and their individual needs than ever before. It has been a superb year for the team, and we look forward to competing in Russia,” Cúper said.

DNAFit CEO Lasarow sees the EFA deal as an
“another step in our exciting partnership with the EFA. Through their vision in embracing genetic science, Egypt has been marked out as one of the foremost pioneers within world football. We believe the key to unlocking elite performance comes from this hyper-personalised approach and we look forward to assisting in preparations for the FIFA World Cup 2018.”
“After a hugely successful year working together, I am delighted that we are able to further our commitment at this exciting time for Egyptian football. This relationship puts Egypt at the forefront of football innovation, and the team at DNAFit cannot wait to get back to work, said DNAFit Egypt Ali.

According to the Pharaohs team manager Ihab Leheta, DNAFit has added two more experts to join the technical and medical staff and work on the issues of nutrition, strength and fitness -- Laurent Bannock in nutrition and John Kiely in strength and fitness. “They will start working when they join the national team training camp in Zurich in March when Egypt will play two friendly matches against Portugal on 23 March and Greece on 27 March,” Leheta said.

The news comes just days after DNAFit was featured on the shortlist for the upcoming, prestigious BT Sports Industry Awards, nominated in the “Performance Technology of the Year” category. The short-listing comes on the back of another year of pioneering research and innovation that meets the growing demand for hyper-personalised genetic training and nutrition solutions, both for the elite sportsperson and everyday consumer.

Egypt begins its FIFA World Cup 2018 campaign with its Group A fixture against Uruguay on 15 June before facing host nation Russia on 19 June. It completes its group stage matches when it faces Saudi Arabia on 25 June.

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