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Stars to watch
Published in Al-Ahram Weekly on 25 - 07 - 2012

These Egyptian athletes are medal contenders, report Ghada Abdel-Kader and Ahmed Morsy
Alaaeddin El-Sayed
The 21-year-old Egyptian foil fencer appeared eighth in the official ranking list for the season 2011/2012 epée event.
He won first place at the African Championships in Casablanca in April 2012. He finished in sixth place with 21 points at the Grand Prix FIE Fleuret de St Petersbourg in June 2012. And he came fifth by 35 points at the Fencing World Championship in Catania, Italy, in 2011.
Amr Seoud
The 26-year-old runs in the 100 and 200 metre races. His personal best times are 10.13 and 20.36 seconds respectively. He won two silver medals at the qualifying African championship held in Benin, clocking 10.34 and 20.76 seconds respectively. Seoud is also twice gold medallist at the 2011 All Africa Games in Mozambique and the African Senior Athletics Championship 2010 in Nairobi. He amazed spectators with his most outstanding performance, finishing in first and setting a new national and Arab record at 20.36 seconds in the 200-metre race.
Hisham Mesbah
Judoka Hisham Mesbah has been confirmed as Egypt's flag-bearer during the London Olympic Games opening ceremony 27 July. Beijing judo bronze medallist Mesbah is aiming to stand on the podium at the end of the Games in his sport.
Mesbah, 30, participates in the 90-kilogramme category of Judo in the 2012 London Olympics. His greatest achievement to date, winning bronze medal in 2008, also marked Egypt's first medal in Judo for 28 years. On returning to his home country, Hesham found his popularity had doubled, as had his desire to go further and win the Olympic gold.
2008 was a highly successful year for Hisham. He was also nominated as the torchbearer for Egypt, a huge honour for any athlete.
Aya Medani
The world number four, Aya Medani is determined to step on the Olympic podium this time. The 24-year-old makes her fourth appearance in London. In 2004, she was the youngest athlete in the Egyptian delegation and her best result was at the Beijing Games in 2008 when she was placed eighth.
En route to the Olympics, Medani won gold medals in the World Modern Pentathlon Championships held in Hungary and the African Modern Pentathlon Championship held in Egypt, the latter of which qualified her for the 2012 London Olympics. In 2009, she snatched gold medals in the African Modern Pentathlon Championship held in Cairo, the Modern Pentathlon Junior World Championships in Taiwan, and the Pentathlon World Cup in Mexico.
Nourhan Amer
Also the youngest Egyptian markswoman who will be competing at the Games and for the first time as well competing at the 10m air rifle women's event.
Despite practicing the sport for only three years, the 19- year old Amer set a remarkable new African record scoring 392 from 400 points at 2011 African Shooting Championship held in Cairo. But the reason is clear considering that she is the daughter of former champion and now coach Mohamed Amer who won more the 50 international medals and more than 500 national medals.
Azmi Mehelba
The youngest Egyptian Mehelba will be making his first appearance at the Olympics Games. The 21- year old Mehelba has practiced shooting since 2006 at the Alexandria Shooting Club.
The Egyptian prodigy's latest achievements including a 19th place victory at World Cup in Lonato 2012 scoring 117 targets, the 23rd place at World Cup in London 2012 also scoring 117 targets. Mehelba also set a new African record of 123 from140 points at the 10th African Shooting Championships in the Shotgun events held in Rabat 2011.
Tamer Salah
Tamer Salah, one of Egypt's bronze medallists in the 2004 Athens Games, is eager to make up for his surprising failure to compete in Beijing four years ago. Salah, ranked world number five, is going to participate in the men's under 58 kilogrammes event in the London Olympics.
Salah, 29, emphasised that he is self-motivated to claim a medal in London. "The 25 January Revolution was a big morale boost for me; after, I got fourth place in the 2011 World Championship in Azerbaijan," he explained.
Salah participated in several tournaments after the Athens Olympics, and he claimed the gold medal in the 2011 African Championship and Spain Championship. Later on, he won gold in the Arab Championship in Qatar and the title of best player in the Jordan International Championship.
Salah will lift the Egyptian flag in the closing ceremony of the 2012 London Olympics.
Karam Gaber
The 33-year-old is currently ranked in the top six in world wrestling. Gaber made history at the Athens Games in 2004 when he claimed gold in the 96-kilogramme weight category, knocking down Georgia opponent Ramaz Nozadze three times in a 12-2 rout. It was Egypt's first Olympic gold medal in 56 years. He was unlucky in the next Olympics in Beijing 2008, finishing 13th. In preparations for the London Games he claimed the African Championship gold medal in Morocco in May and before that the Arab Games gold medal in Qatar in 2011. In London, he takes part in the 84-kilogramme competition and is determined to make it again to the Olympic podium.
Mohamed Heikal
It will be the third appearance for the 33-year-old boxer in the Olympic Games. The middleweight fighter took part in both the Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008 Olympics, achieving no medals. London 2012 will be his last chance to make an impression. In preparation for the Olympics, he won gold medal at the 2012 Albanian International Tournament well as two gold medals at Arab Games Qatar 2011and the International Arab Challenge Championship in Qatar in 2011.
Mohamed Abdel-Fattah
Nicknamed Bogi, the 34 year old Greco-Roman wrestler participates in the 84kg division and currently ranked among the world's top six.
Bogi is making his third appearance at the Olympic Games; in Sydney 2000 where he was placed 8th. In Athens2004, Abdel-Fattah contested the result of his fight in the knock out round and was later disqualified in the men's Greco-Roman 84 kg class. He has been training for four years in USA in a training scholarship from the American Wrestling federation.
Bogi suffered an injury that kept him off the wrestling mat for almost two years. In 2010 he made an impressive comeback winning a gold medal at the African Championships in Cairo, Egypt 2010. The following year he won a silver medal in the Golden Grand Prix in Baku and another silver medal at the Golden Grand Prix in Tbilisi 2011 and finally gold at the Mediterranean Games in Istanbul, Turkey 2010.
Nahla Ramadan
Eight years ago, the female weightlifter Ramadan had made history for Egyptian weightlifting and was Egypt's hopeful for an Olympic medal. She was a 2003 world juniors champion and her Olympic medal was accordingly guaranteed then. She had set a record of 262.5 kg in her group and was then expected to achieve 265 kg at the Olympic Games. But she failed in Athens 2004. Her failure was related to being young and inexperienced. But the 27- year old has grown up and matured since then and has been making progress in the past years. At the 2007 All-Africa Games in Algeria; Ramadan came in the first place in 75kg claiming three gold medals with a total of 268kg (117kg in the snatch and 151 kg in the clean and jerk). In The World Weightlifting Championships 2009 which was held in Goyang, South Korea, she came in the 5th place. In the 2011 Arab Games in Doha, Qatar, Ramadan snatched the gold medal in the women's +75kg competition.
Ramadan, who was 19 then recalls these "I was injured in Athens and I only knew the extent of my injury a week before the event. I felt it in my legs."
Meanwhile, Ramadan is determined this time at London to regain her days of glory.
Olympic football team
The Egyptian Olympic football team qualified for their 13th appearance at the Olympics by finishing third at the inaugural African Under-23 Championship in Morocco last year. Though Egypt qualified for the men's Olympic football tournament on 12 previous occasions, they have only played in 10, after dropping out of the 1956 and 1980 editions for political reasons. All of their appearances, with the exception of Barcelona 1992, predate the restructuring of the Olympic tournament as a under-23 competition.
What gives them a moral boost is that Ahli playmaker Mohamed Abou-Treika is one of three overage players named in the Egypt squad for the Olympic football tournament. The two other overage players Egypt coach Hani Ramzi has drafted, Emad Meteb and Ahmed Fathi, also play for six-times African champions Ahli. Egypt will play in the same group with Brazil, Belarus, and New Zealand.


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