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Egypt's gymnasts.. Kings of Africa
Published in The Egyptian Gazette on 15 - 04 - 2012

CAIRO - Egypt's Prime Minister sent a cable of greetings to the Egypt's senior and junior gymnastics team after snatching the gold medal in the 11th African Championships for Men and Women's Artistic Gymnastics, Egypt's official Middle East News Agency (MENA) reported.
Egypt's juniors stole the limelight at the Championships, held in Tunis, Tunisia from April 11 to 14, winning the tournament with an amazing total haul of 14 gold medals, five silvers and five bronzes.
Tunisia (two golds, five silvers and four bronzes) and Algeria (two golds, four silvers, five bronzes) came second and third.
Egypt's Aya Mahjoub, Farida Waleed and Nada Ayman snatched gold and Rana Osama silver in the girls' junior individual competition, while Farida and Nada also grabbed gold in the team event, beating off the fierce competition from the South African gymnasts.
In the boys' junior competition, Mohamed Sherif el-Shahrti snatched gold in the individual event, followed by Tunisia's Wagdi Bouallag with Egypt's Ashraf Nashaat picking up bronze.
Gymnastics is a sport that requires power, as athletes need to clear the surface of the trampoline by up to six metres in order to perform their exercises.
Gymnasts must have flexibility, endurance and an awareness of kinesthetics, so they can perform handsprings, handstands, split leaps, aerials and cartwheels.
The four-day 11th African Gymnastics Championships witnessed the participation of one hundred junior and senior gymnasts representing nine African countries: Egypt, South Africa, Algeria, Tunisia, Congo, Benin, Morocco, Namibia and Zimbabwe.
The competition was very tough, especially among the gymnasts from South Africa and the North African countries.
Egypt was one of the first countries in the world to join the Federation Internationale de Gymnastique (FIG) and indeed the first African country. That was in 1910, more than a century ago.
As well as Sherine, Farida, Nada and el-Shahrti, Egypt boasts many other top-notch gymnasts such as Mohamed Sorour, boding well for the Pharaohs' participation in this sport at the international level in future.


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