Wednesday,19 September, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1128, 27 December 2012 - 2 January 2013
Wednesday,19 September, 2018
Issue 1128, 27 December 2012 - 2 January 2013

Ahram Weekly

Triathlon in town

The first Arab championship in the sport will be held in Sharm El-Sheikh. Ghada Abdel- Kader reports

Al-Ahram Weekly

Founder and president of the Egyptian Triathlon Federation (ETF) Ahmed Nasser told a recent press conference held at the Egyptian Olympic Committee in Cairo Stadium that Egypt is to host the first ever Triathlon Arab championship. The venue will be the resort city of Sharm El-Sheikh in March next year.
Triathlon involves three sports -- swimming, cycling and running in immediate succession over various distances. Triathletes compete for fastest overall course completion time, including timed “transitions” between the individual swim, bike, and run components.
President of the International Triathlon Union (ITU) and member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Marisol Casado was at the press conference, along with Nasser, Executive Director for the Ministry of Sport Abdel-Rahman Youssef on behalf of Minister of Sport Al-Amari Farouk, South Sinai Governor Khaled Fouda, head of the Internal Tourism Sector Magdi Selim on behalf of Minister of Tourism Hisham Zaazou and member of the Egyptian Olympic Committee Mervat Hassanein.
Casado was re-elected for a second four-year term as president of the ITU after she saw off the challenge of South Korea’s Kyung-sun Yu at the 25th ITU Congress on 23 October 2012 in Auckland, New Zealand.
The 56-year-old retains the role following an impressive four years in office that saw her lead triathlon to arguably its most successful Olympic appearance ever at London 2012. In the end, it proved a comfortable victory for Casado as she claimed 82 votes from the 120 national federations in attendance. Yu claimed 33 votes while five abstained.
Nasser was a former army officer and world class athlete who competed in swimming, fencing, equestrian, water polo and the modern pentathlon including competing in the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games.
Nasser was appointed to the ITU Executive Board replacing Li Xin of China who died in October 2011. Accordingly, Nasser becomes the first Arab to ever hold a position on the ITU Executive Board. He also currently serves on the Executive Board of the African Triathlon Union (ATU) and has already been instrumental in triathlon’s development in Egypt and in other Arab nations.
Casado thanked Egyptians for” showing such great hospitality in Egypt” and thanked Nasser for giving her this opportunity.
Casado spoke to reporters and Egyptian officials about her future plans for the region. “I am going to start working in the developing Arab countries. In the previous period, ITU had been working in the African countries; now the Middle East figures. ITU will provide all required facilities to all the new family members especially for the Arab countries to develop the triathlon. It is important because  ITU is enlarging the number of members and moving to all parts of the world.”
Nasser announced that Egypt will host the first Arab Triathlon Championship to be held in Sharm El-Sheikh next March. He also thanked the Minister of Sport Al-Emari Farouk and Minister of Tourism Hisham Zaazou for their big support for triathlon in the previous and coming periods. Egypt will also host, for the first time, meetings of the African Triathlon Union.
The South Sinai governor expressed his pleasure to host the upcoming event. “We are ready to receive and host any championship in Sharm El-Sheikh,” Nasser said.
According to the Ministry of Tourism’s Magdi Selim, “The Minister of Tourism Hisham Zaazou has implemented a new strategic plan to support the sports events to be hosted in Egypt by adding them to the tourism calendar.”
“We are looking forward to seeing the first Arab championship. Egypt has many fantastic places that help to host many championships”, added Casado.
Casado was born in Madrid in 1956. She launched her competitive sport career in running and field hockey as a student. She participated in the first triathlon in Spain and won the race. Casado has a degree in Spanish and an MBA in sport. She resides in Madrid with her husband and daughter.
Casado has been the president of the International Triathlon Union since 2008 when she was elected at the ITU Congress in her hometown of Madrid, Spain. She has extensive experience and expertise in the triathlon, being one of the founding members of the Spanish Triathlon Federation and also heavily involved in the creation of ITU in Avignon in 1989.
She served as secretary-general of the Spanish Triathlon Federation (1989–1994 and 1997–2008) and as ITU Treasurer from 1992–1994 and from 2000–2008.
Casado was elected a member of the International Olympic Committee in February 2010 at the 122nd IOC Session ahead of the Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver, the first representative from the triathlon to serve on the IOC. Shortly after, she was appointed to the Coordination Commission for the 2nd Youth Olympic Summer Games in Nanjing 2014. Recently, she has been included on the IOC International Relationships Commission.
Since 2011, she has been a council member of the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations. Representing ASOIF, she is co-chair of the international Sport Coaching Framework Project Group.
Casado served as president of the Women and Sport Commission in the Spanish Olympic Committee from (1992–1994 and from 2000-2009) and has been a member of the Executive Board since 2010.
Casado is also a former president of the European Triathlon Union, made up of 41 federations, from 2002 to 2008. She was awarded with the gold medal “Real Orden del Merito Deportivo Español” for her service to sport in 2010 and the Olympic Order of the Spanish National Olympic Committee in 2011.
Nasser met with Egypt’s Sports Minister Farouk to deliver the ‘Thank you’ letter sent by the International Triathlon Federation president and members of the executive board thanking the minister and the Egyptian government for supporting triathlon in Egypt, Africa and the Arab world as well as thanking him for the kind hospitality offered to them while in Cairo. The international delegation enjoyed a touristic sightseeing programme set up by both the ministries of sports and tourism where the guests visited major touristic attractions the Pyramids, the Sphinx, the Egyptian Museum and took a Nile cruise.
Nasser was elected president of the African Triathlon Federation and the headquarters were moved from South Africa to Cairo after 22 years.
“It was a fruitful meeting with the minister who revealed that the Ministry of Sports was working on a new road map that would bring back Egypt to the world of sports. Though the minister did not give any details it just felt we’ll be on the right track,” said Nasser.
Nasser also said that the minister announced his support for the idea of establishing a triathlon training centre in Cairo. Two other countries, South Africa and Zimbabwe, are aiming at hosting the center. “But the minister has given instructions to Ashraf Sobhi (chairman of the Cairo Stadium Indoor Complex) to give all support to the centre and coordinate and liaise with the International Federation so Egypt can host the centre.”

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