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Weighing in on 2002
Published in Al-Ahram Weekly on 26 - 12 - 2002

Al-Ahram Weekly offers an end-of-year sports account of the country's tops and flops
Male and female weightlifters gave Egypt a mighty lift as they collected nine medals at the world junior championships in the Czech Republic in May. It was a feat not seen since the 1930s -- when the country was a weightlifting power -- as the national team won four gold medals, one silver and four bronze.
In the men's world championships in Poland, Mohamed Tantawi clinched the bronze weightlifting medal in the 69kg weight category. Egypt also won the African Nations Cup with an outstanding 24 gold medals, sweeping all weight categories.
Pointing the way in fencing was Yasser Mahmoud who picked up the gold medal in the epee event in the World Cup in Tunisia in August.
Omnia Abdel-Qawi won the modern pentathlon silver medal at the world championships in May while Aya Medani did the same in the same event but at the junior level in Hungary in August.
The eight-man boat team won the bronze medal at the world championships in Belgium in August, the best showing ever for the country's oarsmen who also dominated the African championship in Cairo in October.
Tunisia bested Egypt in the African judo championships in Cairo in October. Though Egypt came in first in the men's event, it was Tunisia's women who put their country on the overall gold podium. Three bronze medals were collected at the Grand Prix in the Czech Republic.
Track and field continued to be Egypt's Achilles heel. The team managed only an eight-place finish after winning two gold medals, three silver and two bronze.
Tennis fared better, placing second in April's juniors African championship in the under-12, 14, 16 and 18.
Zamalek was runner-up in the African volleyball championship, losing to Tunisia's L'Etoile 3-0 in the final in Tunisia.
In Cairo, the Egyptian short and long-distance swimming teams were bridesmaids to South Africa in the African championships in September but bagged the Arab championship title.
Egypt had the muscle to capture the World Cup in bodybuilding in October and was just as successful at the regional level where it won the Arab and Mediterranean championships. The country also stayed on course for victories in the men's, women's and junior African championships.
On the mats of Cairo Stadium's indoor complex, Egypt's men and women finished second behind Turkey in Graeco- Roman wrestling.
In August, in the world wrestling championship in Moscow, Karam Gaber won the silver in the 96kg weight category while Mohamed Abdel-Fatah won the bronze in 84kg. For his effort, Gaber was named the tournament's best wrestler. Egypt's wrestlers also claimed the African championship title in both men and women events.
For the 16th consecutive time, the speedballers defended their world title, doing so in France. The team collected seven gold medals on the way.
Martial arts had a so-so year. No kung-fu gold at the world championships in China in August but compensation was two silver and three bronze medals.
A new martial art sport was introduced in Egypt: the shido. Not only did Egypt host the world championship but finished first with 17 medals.
Karate players managed to garner just one medal; a bronze at the kata event by international champion Karim Sherif at the world championship in Spain in November.
Tae-kwon-do players failed miserably at the world championship in France in May.
Alexandria played host to a championship in a sport not normally called a sport: arm wrestling. The Egyptians strong- armed their way to 47 medals, one in each discipline.
Walid Said clinched the bronze medal on the rings at the world gymnastics championship in Germany. Gymnasts also dominated the artistic and rhythmic events in Africa, taking the overall title. Raouf Abdel-Karim struck gold in the vault in the Cyprus international.
Handicapped athletes continued their winning ways, showing the same success as their able-bodied counterparts. The team won nine gold medals, six silver and one bronze at the world handicapped weightlifting championships in Malaysia.
Sitting volleyballers finished in fourth place at the world championships in Cairo.
Ahli won football's African Super Cup in March, beating South Africa's Kaiser Chiefs 3-1 in Cairo.
Earlier this month, Zamalek beat Morocco's Raja Casablanca 1-0 in the final of the African Champions League to win the title for the fifth time.
The two victories compensated somewhat for Egypt's quarter-final ouster from the African Nations Cup in Mali in January.
The handball team disappointed by losing its African crown to Tunisia and was forced to settle for third place. On the brighter side, Zamalek and Ahli won the African club championships and African Super Cup respectively.
The monopoly in African field hockey continued as the police field hockey team took the continental title. Sharqia had been a 13-time winner.
Though winter sports are virtually unknown in Egypt, it somehow managed to bag the African ice hockey and figure skating championships.
Leaving no sport untouched, Egypt hosted and won the 5th African billiards (snooker) championship in September.
Only the youngsters in squash excelled in a sport Egypt prides itself in. They won four titles out of eight in England's Junior Open.
The under-19 team also took third place in the world championships in India.
The first Arab women's squash championship in Beirut was won by Egypt. And by winning the Pakistan Open, Karim Darwish edged closer to the world's top 10.
Two more notable mentions: the Arab golf championship was had in the UAE in November and in archery, Egypt's women scored a bull's-eye in the Arab women's championships in April. The men took silver.

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