Tuesday,12 December, 2017
Current issue | Issue 1181, (23 - 29 January 2014)
Tuesday,12 December, 2017
Issue 1181, (23 - 29 January 2014)

Ahram Weekly

Hefty manoeuvres

The Egyptian Weightlifting Federation is a hive of activity preparing its teams for the Youth Olympic Games, Ghada Abdel-Kader reports

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Al-Ahram Weekly

With only a few months to go to the 2014 Youth Olympic Games (YOG), the Egyptian Weightlifting Federation (EWF) is facing the customary financial difficulties in preparing its athletes to join the games' fierce competitions.

The EWF had already secured three berths at the Nanjing YOG, scheduled to be held in Nanjing, China from 16-28 August. The three quota places had been booked by the Egyptians for Nanjing 2014 YOG based on their outstanding performance in the qualification tournament in the 2013 International Wrestling Federation (IWF) Youth World Championships at Tashkent, Uzbekistan. The world championship took place from 5-15 April 2013. During the event, the Egyptians went through some fierce competition, nevertheless snatching the three spots from an overall 446 athletes who represented 52 countries; 257 men and 189 women.

“Despite our qualification last April, the athletes have been in a training camp in the Olympic Centre in Maadi since last September. Weightlifters need special training and require a good and flexible budget that would enable us to prepare the athletes properly to be able to compete against the world's best athletes. The entire EWF budget has been spent on the athletes, but it is not enough,” EWF president Mahmoud Mahgoub revealed to Al-Ahram Weekly.

“The EWF presented the preparation plan to the Egyptian Olympic Committee (EOC) four months ago. EOC approved the plan and addressed the Ministry of Sports to provide the federation with the money. Until now, we didn’t receive anything. It’s getting too late. We don’t have much time and our preparations are at stake. If we are looking forward to achieving Olympic medals, then we need to train hard.”

Mahgoub hopes the financial hitches will be resolved soon because the qualification to the YOG is in itself an unprecedented achievement that needs to be built upon. “For the first time in history, Egypt won second place in the 2013 IWF Youth World Championships in the overall men’s standings. This was a huge achievement. Egypt secured the maximum quota (two places) in the men’s category.”

To qualify for YOG, countries have to earn their places by competing in qualifying World and Continental Championships, whose competitions are being held under IWF Rules. According to Mahgoub, "the classification of the teams is calculated by adding the points allocated to each competitor."

In the men’s qualification event, the best-ranking team from 1st to 9th place qualified with two athletes and from 10th place to 16th qualified with one athlete. In the women’s qualification event, the highest-ranking team from 1st till 7th place qualified with two athletes and from 8th to 15th place qualified with one athlete. The three Egyptian junior weightlifters booked three places for YOG, two places in the men’s event and one in the women’s event.

In the qualifying tournament of Uzbekistan, Egypt participated with eight men and three women. The women’s team was represented by Sara Samir, 63kg, Israa El-Sayed, 58kg and Heba Saleh, 44kg. The men’s team comprised Mohamed Gamal, 50 kg, Mustafa Shabaan, 56kg, Ahmed Emad, 62kg, Ahmed Adel, 69kg, Ibrahim Abu-Kahela, 69kg, Ezzeldin Thabet, 77kg, Mohamed Fathi, 85kg and Amir Rizk, +94kg.

In women’s results, in the 63kg weight category, Samir won first place with three gold medals in the snatch with a heave of 101 lifted, in the clean and jerk with 120kg and a total of 221kg.

In 58kg, El-Sayed took a silver medal in the snatch after lifting 86kg. In 44kg, Saleh collected two bronze medals in the clean and jerk, lifting 83kg and a total of 143kg.

In men’s results, in 62kg, Emad won two silver medals in the snatch after lifting 116kg and a total of 252kg. In 69kg, Adel finished in second place with a gold medal in the clean and jerk with 164kg and a silver one in a total of 289kg. Abu-Kahela took a bronze medal in the same event in the clean and jerk with 157kg lifted. 

The EWF chose five male and three females to compete in both the YOG and African Junior and Youth Championships in Cameroon, which is another qualifying tournament. The African Championships will be held from 15-22 April 2014.The women’s team will comprise weightlifter Sara Samir, 63kg, and two replacements, athletes Israa El-Sayed, 58kg, and Aya Emad, 58kg. The men’s team will feature Hossam Hassan, 56kg, Ahmed Adel, 77kg, Ezzeldin Thabet, 77kg, Amir Rizk, +94kg, and Mohamed Shaker, 85kg.

Although the African Junior and Youth Championships are significant, Mahgoub fears they might exhaust the athletes. “African junior and youth championships are so tiring for the athletes. It is too far to travel to and very hectic. Only the replacement weightlifters will go to compete. Their performances in these championships will decide the final names that are going to participate in YOG,” he said.  

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