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Worth her weight in gold
Published in Al-Ahram Weekly on 24 - 09 - 2014

Egypt's weightlifter Sara Samir made history by winning a gold medal in the women's 63kg weightlifting category on 21 August at the Youth Olympic Games (YOG) in Nanjing, China.
The 16­year-old thus became the first Egyptian woman to win an individual gold medal in Olympic competitions. It was also the first Olympic medal for the Egyptian delegation in YOG.
The president of the Egyptian Weightlifting Federation (EWF) Mahmoud Mahgoub told Al­Ahram Weekly: “This Olympic medal means a lot to EWF. It wasn't any easy target. This is the first Olympic gold medal for an Egyptian woman in any sport. Also, it was the first time for her to participate in YOG.”
In the women's 63kg category in the championship held from 16­28 August, Samir won the gold medal with103kg in the snatch and 125kg in the clean and jerk, a total number of 228 kilogrammes lifted.
Mexican Ana Lilia Duran Ayon took silver with 90kg in the snatch and 120kg in the clean and jerk for 210kg.
Ukrainian Sofiya Zenchenko won the bronze with 88kg in the snatch and 120kg in the clean and jerk, posting a total of 208kg.
“The difference between Samir and Ayon was 18kg, a huge difference in weightlifting,” said Mahgoub.
Egypt's President Abdel­Fattah Al­Sisi paid tribute to the Egyptian delegation for their performance at the YOG. Al-Sisi awarded Samir the Egyptian National Legion of Honour (first class rank).
“This honour wasn't just for Samir but for weightlifting. It means a lot to us. It will have a big impact on athletes, coaches and administrators.,” Mahgoub said. “We are waiting for prize money for the athletes. Until now, the athletes have not received anything,” added Mahgoub. Mahgoub who met Minister of Youth and Sports Khaled Abdel-Aziz to discuss EWF's plans for the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro 2016.
“I presented the EWF's plan for 2016 with its budget, training camps and list of the athletes who are expected to win medals. It was a fruitful meeting. Minister Abdel­Aziz agreed to all our requests. He subsidised EWF with LE1 million as a start for our preparations.”
EWF's agenda is full. In two months comes the 2014 IWF World Championship in Almaty, Kazakhstan, from 4­16 November. It is an Olympic qualifying event for the 2016 Olympic Games.
SAMIR'S LIFE HIGHLIGHTS: Egyptian weightlifter Sara Samir, 16, lives in the governorate of Ismailia. She started weightlifting in 2011. Her brother was a weightlifter, and she once went with him to the Sports Military Institute in Ismailia. Weightlifting coach Mustafa Ragab saw her practice and advised her father that she should take up the sport.
She joined weightlifting at the club, and her first weightlifting coach in school was Mahmoud Ades.
“EWF discovers any weightlifter through national and republic tournaments,” Mahgoub said. “Samir was chosen to compete in YOG more two years ago,” he added. “EWF was conducting several tests for weightlifters to choose those for the 2012 African Youth and Junior Championships in Tunisia. She was one of them.”
Samir claimed first place in both girls U17 and female U20 at the 2012 African Youth and Junior Championships in Tunisia. She won first place in both of them with 95kg in the snatch and 120kg in the clean and jerk, a total number of kilogrammes lifted at 215 in the women's 83kg.
She was named the best player in the championship, her first participation in international tournaments.
Samir competed in the 2013 International Wrestling Federation (IWF) Youth World Championships at Tashkent, Uzbekistan in 2013. The championship afforded an opportunity to qualify for the Nanjing 2014 YOG. She booked a place for Egypt in the women's event in YOG. 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 the women's 63kg weight category. Again, she was chosen best player.
She claimed a bronze medal with 92kg in the snatch and a gold medal in 124kg clean and jerk in the women's 63kg category at the XVII Mediterranean Games in Mersin, Turkey, in 2013.
She snatched six gold medals in both the 2014 African Youth (YOG qualification) Championship and African Junior Championship in Tunisia from 15­ 22 April 2014. In both championships, Samir took first place with 103kg in the snatch and 125 kg in the clean and jerk a total number of kilogrammes lifted at 228 in the women's 69kg category.


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