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Tomorrow through rose-coloured glasses
Published in Al-Ahram Weekly on 01 - 01 - 2013

Despite the suspension of most sports activities in Egypt as a result of the political unrest in the country, some federations including tennis, the modern pentathlon, wrestling and athletics are seriously looking ahead to the 2013 season.
Board member of the Egyptian Athletics Federation (EAF) Maged Al-Sayed told Al-Ahram Weekly that the federation has drawn up a new policy and is determined on implementing it during the coming year, “We are a new board of directors adopting a new policy based on discovering new talent to increase the number of track and field athletes. Simultaneously, while doing so, we'll be working on maintaining the level of the senior athletes by giving them more opportunities to participate in African, Arab and world championships.”
“The EAF has two plans, short and long-term,” Al-Sayed said. “The short involves the juniors team which is to participate in national, Arab and African championships. The U-16 will compete in the Second Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, China in 2014.”
The Egyptian junior team consists of sprinters Hamada Mohamed (800 & 1500m), Sabri Salem (1500m), Reham Hamdi (high jump) and Alaa Al-Ashri and Israa Mohamed (hammer throwers).
According to Al-Sayed, the long-term plan is a four-year stretch during which the athletes are to prepare for the 2016 Olympics Games scheduled for Rio. The EAF's agenda includes the third African Cross-Country Championship in March, the IAAF World Cross-Country Championship in Poland, the eighth World Junior Championship in Ukraine, the 14th IAAF World Senior Championship in Russia and the Mediterranean Games in Turkey.
The modern pentathlon has been a promising medal-winning sport in Egypt for the past decade. President of the Egyptian Modern Pentathlon Federation (EMPF) Sherif Al-Erian said the EMPF is getting ready for a series of five UIPM (Unione International de Pentathlon Moderne) World Cups. Each event will take place in a different country: World Cup 1 (the US), World Cup 2 (Brazil), World Cup 3 (China), and World Cup 4 (Hungary). The fifth and final stage of the series, the World Cup 5, was scheduled to be held in Cairo but due to security reasons was cancelled and will instead be held in Russia in June 2013 when 36 men and women will compete in the final. The best results of pentatheletes in three UIPM World Cups qualify. “This year, the federation will take part in several other events, including the Seniors World Championships in China from 15-21 August, the Junior World Championships in Hungary from 26-30 July and the Youth (A) World Championships in China from 8-11 August,” said the EMPF president Al-Erian.
“The EMPF is preparing two male and female teams to take part in the qualifying event for the 2013 UIPM Youth Olympic Games. The qualifying tournament will take place at the end of 2013. We are hoping Egypt will represent Africa in the Second Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, China in 2014.”
Each of these two teams will consist of five athletes but the EMPF will choose only four. The women's team comprises Haydi Adel, Sondous Tarek, Toqa Safieddin, Hebatallah Abdel-Hakim and Rana Khaled while the men's team includes Abdel-Rahman Tarek, Mustafa Rashed, Mohamed Yasser, Sherif Hassan and Youssef Hassan.
Al-Erian told Al-Ahram Weekly that the EMPF has signed a protocol with its Hungarian counterpart to hold a training camp for their national men's and women's teams in Hurghada, Egypt. “In return the Hungarian Association is to host our national team in a training camp before the Junior World Championships in Hungary.”
Al-Erian unveiled an initial agreement with one of the biggest shoe manufacturing companies to provide the national team with merchandise worth $250,000 for free without conditions. “But first, we need the approval of the Egyptian Ministry of Sport.”
Al-Erian revealed another agreement made. “With the help of EMPF, we reached a deal with Speedo, the world's best swimwear brand, to provide the Egyptian juniors and cadets (boys and girls) teams with swimming suits and all swim-related accessories. One swimming suit costs LE4,000. If the Ministry of Sport agrees to the deal, we will receive the gear in February during the UIPM World in the US,” Al-Erian added.
The Egyptian Tennis Federation's (ETF) new board of directors was elected in October. While the local championships will be the same as last year, the ETF intends to increase its international participations.
According to ETF President Israa Al-Sanhouri, the highlights of the junior tennis calendar include competing in four championships, two in Group Two, one in Group Four and one in Group Five. “Egypt will host two Davis Cup events and a Fed Cup next May. Moreover, we will enter in the ITF (International Tennis Federation) / CAT (Confederation of African Tennis) U-18 African Indoors Junior Championships in South Africa in February and the U-16 and U-14 African Nations Cup,” Al-Sanhouri said, confirming that Egypt will host the $15,000 U-18 Arab Championships for boys and girls.
The New Year brought good news to Egyptian tennis, Al-Sanhouri explains. “Egypt's promising stars Mazen Osama and Sandra Sameh won a grant from the ITF to compete at the Australian Open for juniors in Melbourne, Australia from 19 - 26 January. According to junior world rankings issued 17 December, Osama was ranked 52 in the world while Sameh was 106.
The Egyptian Wrestling Federation (EWF) is busy preparing for the 27th edition of the Ibrahim Mustafa Greco-Roman and Freestyle Wrestling international tournament in Sharm El-Sheikh from 5-7 April. The tournament is named after legendary Egyptian wrestler Ibrahim Mustafa, winner of Egypt's first wrestling gold medal at the 1928 Amsterdam Olympic Games. Mustafa was the first African wrestler to win an Olympic title. Egypt will also host the Mediterranean Championship for juniors and cadets (under 17and 20 freestyle, Greco-Roman and female wrestling) in Alexandria from 18-21 April.
From May to September Egyptian wrestlers will be busy competing in several international world events beginning with the African Seniors & Cadets Championship in freestyle, Greco-Roman, female and traditional wrestling. The two events will be held consecutively in Chad from 2-12 May. The events will be followed, in order, by the Mediterranean Games in Turkey from 22-27 June, the World Juniors Championship in Bulgaria from 13-18 August, the World Cadets Championship in Serbia from 20-25 August and the World Seniors Championship in Hungary from 16-22 September.
EWF's public relations manager Sherif Ahmed said, “Our agenda is full until 2016 as Egypt plans to play host to several events: the African Championship and African qualifiers for the 2014 Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, China and the possibility of hosting the World Junior Championship in August 2014, the 2015 World Cadets Championship and the 2016 Olympics African qualifiers.”
Ahmed said the federation is meanwhile preparing Egyptian junior wrestlers for the 2014 Olympic Youth Games. “It's the main target of EWF President Hassan Al-Haddad who is trying to increase the number of training camps abroad to give them a chance to gain more experience.”

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