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The biggest of them all
Published in Ahram Online on 13 - 07 - 2021

Egypt is sending to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics the largest contingent it has had in any Games - 134 athletes from 23 sports federations.
In the two-week-long tournament, which starts 23 July, Egypt will be participating in the modern pentathlon, swimming, artistic swimming, diving, table tennis, fencing, tennis, wrestling, canoeing, gymnastics, rowing, sailing, equestrian, football, handball, archery, boxing, athletics, judo, taekwondo, triathlon, cycling, karate, badminton and shooting.
Three Egyptian delegations will be flying separately to Tokyo, according to the dates of each competition. The fencing team arrived in Tokyo first, earlier this week from Russia where they have been in a training camp.
The Egyptian Olympic Committee has announced the final list of the athletes scheduled to take part at the Games.
Egypt is participating in only two team sports: football and handball. A team of 21 footballers will represent the Olympic team which comprises players under 23 years of age plus three above-aged players. The three are Ahly goalkeeper Mohamed Al-Shennawi, Zamalek defender Mahmoud Al-Wensh and Ittihad Jeddah central defender Ahmed Hegazi.
The U-23 players are Mahmoud Gad, Mohamed Sobhi, Ammar Hamdi, Karim Fouad, Ossama Galal, Mohamed Abdel-Salam, Salah Mohsen, Nasser Maher, Ramadan Sobhi, Ibrahim Adel, Akram Tawfik, Karim Al-Eraki, Ahmed Yasser Rayan, Emam Ashour, Ahmed Ramadan Beckham, Abdel-Rahman Magdi, Ahmed Abou Al-Fetouh and Nasr Mansi.
The handball team includes of Karim Hendawi, Mohamed Essam Al-Tayar, Mohamed Ali, Omar Al-Wakil Bakkar, Ahmed Moemen Safa, Ali Zein, Yehia Al-Dera, Hassan Walid Kadah, Ahmed Hisham Al-Sayed or Dodo, Ahmed Khairi, Seif Al-Dera, Mohamed Sanad, Akram Yousri, Ahmed Al-Ahmar, Yehia Khaled, Mohsen Ramadan, Mohamed Mamdouh Hashem, Ibrahim Al-Masri, Wessam Nawar and Ahmed Adel.
The modern pentathlon has four athletes: Ahmed Hamed, Ahmed Al-Gendi, Amira Kandil and Haidi Adel. Swimming also has four: Ali Khalafallah, Farida Osman, Youssef Ramadan and Marawan Al-Kamash and two in diving: Mohamed Mohaimen and Maha Abdel-Salam. Artistic swimming will take part with an eight-swimmer team: Hana Heikal, Laila Ali Mohamed, Jaida Tarek, Noura Seifeddin, Farida Sherif, Marian Mohamed, Omnia Ezzat and Shahd Samer.
Table tennis will feature six athletes: Omar Asar, Khaled Asar, Ahmed Saleh, Dina Meshref, Yousra Helmi and Farag Abdel-Aziz while fencing will include a men's epee team of Ziad Al-Sisi, Mohab Yasser, Medhat Moetaz and Mohamed Amer. The women's foil sees Yara Al-Sharkawi, Nora Mohamed Mounir, Noha Hani and Mariam Al-Zoheiri. The men's foil includes Mohamed Hossam, Alaaeddin Abu Al-Kassem, Youssef Sana and Mohamed Maher Hama. In the epee individual competition both Nada Hafez and Mohamed Al-Sayed will represent Egypt in the women's and men's singles.
Two players will show up in tennis: Mayar Sherif and Mohamed Safwat. Canoeing and sailing will each be represented by two athletes: Sama Ahmed and Moemen Mahran in the canoe and Kheloud Mansi and Ali Badawi in sailing.
Wrestling enters the Olympics with eight Greco Roman and freestyle wrestlers: Mohamed Ibrahim Kisho, Samar Hamza, Amr Reda Hussein, Diaaeddin Kamal, Enas Khorsheid, Haitham Mahmoud, Mohamed Metwali and Abdel-Latif Manei.
Gymnastics is represented by 14 gymnasts in three disciplines.
Seif Sherif and Malak Hamza in the trampoline, Omar Mohamed, Mandi Essam and Zeina Ibrahim in the rhythmic while Tia Diaa, Salma Khaled, Malak Sherif, Logain Islam, Farida Ashraf, Paulina Amr, Habiba Marzouk, Jana Mohamed and Sara Halim will take part in the artistic.
Three sports have only one participant each: Abdel-Khalek Al-Banaa in rowing, Basmala Al-Salamoni in triathlon and Ibtissam Zayed in cycling.
Four riders will represent the equestrian team: Abdel-Kader Said, Nayel Nassar, Mohamed Taher Zeyada and Mohamed Tarek Mustafa.
Nour Hussein, Hedaya Malak, Seif Eissa and Abdel-Rahman Wael represent taekwondo while there are two archers, Amal Adam and Youssef Tolba and Abdel-Rahman Orabi and Yousri Rezkallah represent boxing.
Athletics goes into the Olympics with five athletes: Bassant Hemeida in the 100 & 200m, Ihab Abdel-Rahman in the javelin, Mustafa Al-Gamal in the hammer throw, and Mohamed Magdi and Mustafa Amr in the shot put.
Three judokas will take part in judo: Ramadan Darwish, Mohamed Abdel-Aal and Mohamed Abdel-Mawgoud while five will fight in karate: Gianna Farouk, Feryal Ashraf, Radwa Al-Sayed, Ali Al-Sawi and Abdullah Mahmoud.
Badminton will be represented by Hadia Hosni, Doha Hani and Adham Hatem Al-Gamal in the women's and mixed doubles.
Shooting qualified with a whopping 11 marksmen and women who will be taking part in trap, skeet, air-pistol and air-rifle: Azmi Mehelba, Mustafa Hamdi, Ahmed Zaher, Abdel-Aziz Mehelba, Youssef Magar, Ossama Mohamed, Sami Abdel-Fatah, Magi Al-Ashmawi, Al-Zahraa Mohamed, Radwa Al-Sayed and Halal Al-Gohari.
Though the opening ceremony is due to take place on 23 July, some events will start on 21 July when baseball, softball and football kick-off. The Tokyo Games will see a huge 339 events unfold across 33 sports. Competition is due to take place across 41 venues, including the Japan National Stadium, Tokyo Stadium and the Yokohama Stadium
There are five new sports coming to Tokyo 2020: baseball-softball, karate, surfing, sport climbing and skateboarding. Baseball-softball is among the new sports this summer, but the two disciplines were previously separate sports competing at the Olympic Games up until Beijing 2008.
After a year-long delay, traversing 46 prefectures over 106 days, the Olympic flame finally arrived in Tokyo on 9 July. The flame then embarked on a two-week tour around the city before it will be used to light the Olympic Cauldron at the opening ceremony on 23 July. Travelling under the banner, "Hope Lights Our Way", the flame was welcomed at a ceremony at the Komazawa Olympic Park Stadium, a venue built for the Olympic Games in Tokyo 1964.
According to Sherif Al-Erian, secretary-general of the Egyptian Olympic Committee, Egypt has received the accreditation cards for its delegation, which resembles the visa entry of the delegation to Tokyo.
Al-Erian, who is also president of the Egyptian Modern Pentathlon Federation, said that the National Olympic Committee (NOC) is aiming to win medals during their participation in the Games, scheduled to end 8 August.

"All our athletes have been well trained and prepared for the Games. We at the Olympic Committee as well as the Ministry of Youth and Sports have provided our athletes with all the necessities and facilities needed for their training. We have great, top ranked players in some sports and we hope they can win medals," he said.
Head of the NOC Medical Committee Dr Hassan Kamal had good news two weeks before going to the Olympics. The Egyptians will not need to isolate because of the coronavirus.
NOC received an official letter from the organisers informing them about the latest procedures regarding Covid-19 precautions.
"The IOC has divided the nations into two categories, each category with specific measures according to the medical, health and safety situation in each country. Some countries of high cases will submit to strict measures.
"On 8 July, the IOC informed the Egyptian NOC that Egypt is now considered a safe delegation after reviewing its medical precautions and will not join the restricted category. Accordingly, Egypt no longer needs to isolate for three days after arriving in Tokyo. We only need to just submit negative PCR tests for the whole delegation which we will undergo immediately before travelling," Dr Kamal added.
The whole delegation - officials and athletes - has been vaccinated before going to the Olympic Games.
But there was bad news. On 8 July, Japan announced that local home fans will also be banned from Tokyo-area stadiums and arenas when the Olympics begin because of a Covid-19 surge in the country. Organisers of the Tokyo Olympics agreed to ban home fans from the events under a COVID-19 state of emergency.
Fans from abroad were banned months ago but it was announced in June that domestic fans would be allowed in despite concerns that the Games could be a super spreader event. A sudden rise in cases upended those plans.
The new measures will mean no spectators in stadiums and arenas around Tokyo — both indoor and outdoor venues.
It was a serious blow for Japanese taxpayers and local organisers of the Games, which already had been postponed from 2020 by the coronavirus.
In a meeting on 8 July, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the International Paralympic Committee (IPC} were informed by the Japanese side about the impact of this announcement on the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 and supported the policies that were presented by the Japanese parties.
Egypt made its first Olympic appearance in 1912. Since then, the Egyptians have participated in 21 editions of the Olympic Games, collecting an overall 33 medals - seven gold, 11 silver and 15 bronze medals.
After a 56-year medal draught, Egypt re-appeared at the Olympics medals table at the Athens 2004 Games when Karam Gaber won the gold medal in the men's Greco-Roman 96 kg.
Weightlifting has won the most Olympic medals for Egypt - 11 (five gold, two silver and four bronze). The figure would not increase after some junior players tested positive for steroids a year ago. Though Egypt appealed the verdict, the International Weightlifting Federation stood its ground, preventing Egypt's two powerhouses of the sport, Mohamed Ihab and Sara Samir, winners of the bronze medals in Rio 2016, from taking part in the Games, thus denying Egypt two guaranteed medals in the sport.
Greco wrestling collected two medals, a gold in Athens 2004 and a silver in London 2012. In Tokyo, the stakes are high for Ibrahim Kisho in the men's category and Samar Hamza in the women's category.
Boxing has won four medals (one gold and three bronze), diving and judo each won two medals (one silver, one bronze), and one medal each went to Alaaeddin Abou Al-Kassem in fencing (silver) and two medals in taekwondo (Tamer Salah, bronze in 2004) and Hedaya Malak (bronze in 2016).
Meanwhile, on Tuesday 13 July, the NOC displayed the official sports outfits to be donned by the Egyptian delegation.
*A version of this article appears in print in the 15 July, 2021 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly.

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