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North star
Published in Al-Ahram Weekly on 30 - 09 - 2004

North African countries, led by Egypt, are winning the most medals at the Pan-Arab Games, writes Inas Mazhar
Three days into the Arab Games, Egypt was leading the medals table at the Pan-Arab Games in Algeria with 22 gold medals, 15 silver and 16 bronze in a battle of North Africans. The host nation was close behind, in second with 19 gold medals and Tunisia third with 18 gold.
Egypt came out first in the previous nine editions of the championship, save one when Syria took highest honours.
To ensure Egypt stays on top of the Arab world, following the Athens Games Youth Minister Anas El-Fiqi decided to do away with the "honorable participation" motto adopted by Egyptian sports for years, deciding instead that only those expected to win medals were to participate in Algeria. Thus, the Egyptian delegation was pared down to a lean and trim 320 from its original unwieldy 600.
In Algeria, where the championship ends 8 October, weightlifter Nahla Ramadan made an impressive comeback, winning three gold medals at the 75kg weight category. The 19- year-old Ramadan, who failed to win a medal at the Olympic Games in Athens last month, lifted a total of 255kg in Algeria -- 115kg in the snatch and 140 in the jerk.
Also in weightlifting, May Magdi claimed three medals in the 48kg; two gold and one silver. Gaber Rehan won a gold and two silvers in the 80kg category. In the over 75kg, Sally Mahmoud took two gold and one silver. Mahmoud Faisal (77kg) won one gold and one silver and Hussein Fathi (77kg) one silver.
In boxing, Ahmed Samir won a bronze in the super heavyweight division, beating his Iraqi opponent. Three of Egypt's bronze medals in Athens came from boxing.
Egyptian gymnasts won a gold in the women's team event while the women karate team won the bronze medal in the kumite event.
In the final of the 70kg category in men's karate, Mohamed Ibrahim Salem lost 8-7 to his opponent from the host nation.
Sherif Fikri won a gold medal in the kata singles event, then appeared as a participant in badminton. Badminton was one of the federations recently dissolved by the minister of youth for lack of results.
Other karate results included a gold for Heba Salah in 50kg, silver for Naglaa Fathi in 60kg, silver for Mohamed Ibrahim Salem in 70kg and a bronze for Mohamed Abdel-Rahman in 75kg. The kata men's team won a silver while the women claimed gold in team kata.
A cycling silver went to Mohamed Abdel-Aziz and a bronze each for Yousra Mohamed Sayed and Hisham Abdel-Motaleb.
There was gold for Dina Hegazi in the 200 metre backstroke, setting a new Arab record to better the retired Ranya Elwani. Ahmed Mustafa Hussein claimed another gold in the 200 metre backstroke for men, clocking a new Arab record. The women 4x100 added another gold and Heba Selim also took a gold in the 800 metres freestyle. In the same event Samiha Mubarak won a silver.
Salama Zeinhoum took silver in the 200 metres freestyle while the men's 4x200 metres freestyle received a bronze medal. Ayman Khattab won a bronze in the 50 metres breaststroke.

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