Saturday,20 October, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1405, ( 9 - 15 August 2018)
Saturday,20 October, 2018
Issue 1405, ( 9 - 15 August 2018)

Ahram Weekly

Sports stars

The achievements of disabled athletes earned Egypt a spot among leading nations in sports, writes Inas Mazhar

Sports stars
Sports stars

Sports has changed the lives of many disabled in Egypt who have taken on sports and became world-class athletes. Thanks to disabled athletes Egypt is one of the leading nations in the sports of the disabled and the Paralympics Games, held two weeks after the conclusion of the more famous Olympic Games.

The majority of disabled athletes practise sports to challenge their disability. Egypt’s disabled athletes have surpassed expectations by accomplishing outstanding achievements on the national, regional and world levels. With their strong will and determination they have become celebrities, such as Ahmed Hamato in table tennis, Shaaban Desouki and Sherif Othman, Fatma Mahrous and Randa Tageddin in powerlifting. 

In addition to world championships, Egypt’s disabled athletes have overpowered their international opponents at the Olympic Games. Since the Toronto Games in 1967, Egypt has won a total of 177 Paralympic medals: 49 gold, 64 silver and 64 bronze. What is more surprising, however, is that they surpassed their abled counterparts at the Olympic Games. While Egypt returned empty handed from four Olympic Games between 1988 and 2000, it was the disabled athletes who returned back home with their necks decorated with Olympic medals.

They have participated in every edition of the Summer Olympic Games since Toronto since and were involved from the onset in the Paralympic movement, participating in the Stoke-Mandeville Games in 1954. 

Despite Egypt’s astounding historical record in the world of Paralympicw, it is only famous in some sports, such as side wheelchair basketball, football for the deaf, goalball and sitting volleyball. In individual sports, they have climbed to the top of powerlifting, swimming, athletics and table tennis. Some other sports are being practised on the national level only, such as archery, cycling, shooting and lawn bowls.

For all their stardom, these champions unfortunately don’t receive adequate media attention, nor do they get prize money equal to their abled counterparts. Hopes are high, however, that 2018, proclaimed the Year of the Disabled, will bring about the change and recognition they need and deserve.

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