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Egypt can shine in the Med Games
Published in Al-Ahram Weekly on 02 - 07 - 2009

Egypt has the ability to do well in the XVI edition of the 2009 Mediterranean Games in the Italian seaside city of Pescara, Ghada Abdel-Kader reports
With nine gold, eight silver and eight bronze, Egypt is ranked sixth in the medals table.
As Al-Ahram Weekly went to press, Italy led the standings with 25 gold, 29 silver and 31 bronze medals. France is second with 20 gold, 23 silver and 20 bronze, Turkey third place with 16 gold, 10 silver and11 bronze and Spain fourth with 11 gold, five silver and 17 bronze. Greece is fifth with 10 gold, 11 silver and 16 bronze.
The 2009 Mediterranean Games runs from 26 June to 5 July in Pescara, on the east coast of Italy in the Abruzzo region. Pescara is a modern city with a seaside promenade, beaches, good seafood restaurants, lots of night life, and a large archaeological museum. In July, Pescara also holds a large international jazz festival.
The last Mediterranean Games were held in Spain with 21 participating countries and more than 3,000 athletes.
Italy holds the most Mediterranean Game medals ever won in history, with a total haul of 1,786.
In Pescara, representing Europe is Albania, Andorra, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cyprus, Croatia, Slovenia, Spain, France, Greece, Italy, Malta, Monaco Montenegro, San Marino and Serbia. Countries from Africa are Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco and Tunisia. Only three from Asia are making an appearance at the Games: Syria, Lebanon and Turkey.
More than 3,000 participants are currently competing in 28 sports in the Games. They include athletics, beach volleyball, bowls, football, canoe- kayak, rowing, cycling, gymnastics, golf, judo, karate, wrestling, swimming, basketball, handball, disability sports, water polo, volleyball, boxing, fencing, water skiing, weightlifting, equestrianship, tennis, table tennis, clay target shooting, shooting and sailing.
Egypt is being represented by 42 athletes who are battling it out in six sports.
In shooting, Egyptian Mohamed Hassan won the gold medal in the men's 10m air rifle.
In women's weightlifting, Esmat Ahmed, 63kg, won two gold medals in the snatch and clean & jerk. Donia Abdel-Rahman, 53kg, won the bronze medal in the snatch.
In the men's events, weightlifter Ibrahim Abdel-Baki, 77kg, took the gold medal and Mohamed Abdel-Baki, 69kg, the silver in the clean & jerk and bronze in the snatch. Tarek Abdel-Azim, 77kg, won one silver in the snatch and one bronze in the clean & jerk.
In wrestling, Hassan Ibrahim 60kg won gold in the freestyle event. Mustafa Mohamed, 55kg, and Sayed Hamed, 60kg, won bronze medals in Greco-Roman events.
In karate, Amin Ramadan won a silver medal in the men's under 60 kg event, Mustafa El-Senbawi won silver in the men's under 67 kg and Sayed Abdel-Nabi won bronze in the men's under 75 kg.
The mascot of the Pescara Games is "A uà", a cute teddy bear with flippers and glasses. Drawn by Giulia Di Marco, A uàcan shows itself with pride, an expression typical of Pescara which, in an international context, is used for never losing the idea of the region, of the place of belonging, of personal roots. The significance of the three rings on the design of the Pescara 2009 logo symbolises the three continents -- Europe, Asia and Africa -- from which countries come to the Mediterranean Games. The little ripple at the base of each ring represents the Mediterranean Sea lapping around the coastlines of these three continents.
The Mediterranean Games is held every four years, during the post- Olympic year, mainly for nations bordering the Mediterranean Sea, where Europe, Africa and Asia meet.
The origin of the Mediterranean Games can be traced back to 1948. It was more than half a century ago, during the celebration of the Olympic Games of London, when the members of the National Olympic Committees of the Mediterranean countries considered the idea of celebrating games that joined the different cultures of the Mediterranean basin, especially after the devastation of World War II.
They started in London, thanks to the initiative of an Egyptian professor in politics, Taher Pasha. Taher Pasha wanted to make the competition a symbol of peace in a period clouded by the tension among the great powers.
Taher Pasha, born in Egypt in 1879 and with a doctorate in Political Science, was certain that sports are an exceptional means to achieve peace and brotherhood.
In 1931 he founded the Egyptian Aero Club. From 1934 to 1947 he was president of the International Flying Federation, and from 1936 to 1952 he managed the Egyptian Fencing Federation. For a long time he was head of protocol at the International Olympic Committee and a member of the Executive Committee from 1952 to 1957.
From 1960 to 1964 Taher Pasha was the assistant to the then president of the IOC, Avery Brundage.
Taher Pasha died on 29 January 1970, one year before the Games of Izmir, where the Turkish Olympic Committee rendered him a moving homage.
The first Mediterranean Games took place from 15 to 20 October 1951 in Alexandria, Egypt. Since then, the Games have been held in 13 cities, Tunis being the only one that has hosted the competition on two occasions.


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