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Striking gold
Published in Al-Ahram Weekly on 15 - 04 - 2014

Warmly welcomed at Cairo International Airport by Khaled Abdel-Aziz, the minister of sports and youth, Egyptian physically disabled powerlifting athletes were adorned with 12 medals in Dubai: 4 gold, 6 silver and 2 bronze. They ranked in second place among 64 countries who participated in the 11-day event. The 18-player Egyptian national team has also now qualified to the coming world championship to take place in 2016.
Abdel-Aziz expressed his satisfaction with the athletes' achievements, announcing that the ministry will be shouldering the team's entire expenses in Dubai. In addition to that, he will raise the bonus for the physically disabled medalists. “They were able to raise Egypt's name higher in all the events they participated in. They deserve all our recognition and support so they can be well-trained for their coming contenders,” he said.
Sherif Othman won gold in the under 54 weight category, snatching first place and setting a new record by lifting 202 kg. Othman won a gold medal in his weight category in the previous London Paralympics 2012 .The second gold went to his teammate, Mohamed Sobhi Al-Alfat in the 72kg weight category.
Women had an equal share of victories as Fatma Omar, the most famous player in the championship, was able to win a 3rd gold medal for Egypt, setting a new world record in the under 61kg, lifting 135kg and breaking the previous world record that was also hers. “I am very happy with my achievement and much happier that I will go back to my kids with a gold medal, a new world record, and the title of best player of the tournament cup. It is marvelous,”
Omar said. Although a busy wife and mother, she has never given up on training and participation in international events, always displaying a strong will to overcome her disability and to excel. Teammate Randa Tag Elddin was lucky enough to win the gold after coming in second place after the first place winner was deprived of her gold medal due to a technical mistake, thus passing the gold on to Tag Elddin in the 86kg.
The silver medalists were Metwalli Mathana in the 80 kg category, Mohamed El-Deeb in the 97kg, Amal Mahmoud in the under 67kg, Gihan Galal in the 79kg and Amani Ibrahim in the 73kg. Two bronze medals were snatched by Shaaban Yehia in the under 65kg and Gihan Ghareeb in the 50kg.
Meanwhile, Egypt's sitting volleyball team was able to win and qualify to the world championship to take place next June in Poland after winning all their contenders in the African sitting volleyball qualifications.


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