It’s all about football here, and with Egypt’s defeat to Senegal last week, taking us out of the running for the African Cup of Nations for the third year in a row, it’s seemingly very bleak.
That is, until you start counting the number of championships Egyptian teams and athletes have been winning in just the last month. They are largely going unnoticed, but this doesn’t diminish the significance of their victories.
Just this week, Ramy Ashour, the three-time squash champion, came out on top in the international squash championship, which took place in Doha, Qatar. His contestant in the final match was none other than the world’s number one squash player, Egypt’s own Mohamed al-Shorbagy.
In a recent phone-in on a talk show, Ashour commented that it was sad to see the lack of media attention given to individual sports, with most, if not all of the attention typically given to football, the state-owned EgyNews portal reported.
Earlier this month, Attia Shaalan won first place at the 68th IFBB Men’s World Amateur Bodybuilding Championship, in the over 100kg category. While the win in this category places him at the top of the overall competition, eight other Egyptian bodybuilders won the gold, silver or bronze medals in the tournament’s other categories, according to official results.
At the Karate World Championship in Bremen, Germany, also this month, Egypt was in the top tier of winners. Giana Lofty beat her Malaysian opponent in the free fighting (kumite) under 61kg category to win the gold. In the under 68kg category, Shaimaa Aboul Yazed also won gold after defeating an Iranian player.
A total of 996 athletes from 116 countries took part in the 22nd competition, in which the Egyptian female kumite team won their third gold medal after a victory against the two-time reigning champions, the French team, according to the World Karate Federation.
On November 9, Heba al-Torky was the highest ranking player in the Lagos International Squash Classics women’s event, beating her contestant from the Netherlands. In the men’s event, Egypt’s Karim Ali Fathy came in second to England’s number one Adrian Grant.
At the regional level, Egypt’s national weightlifting team came out on top at the Arab world championship, held in Tunisia this past October. They came home with a total of 26 gold, 16 silver and 9 bronze medals, reported the privately owned Al-Masry Al-Youm newspaper.
It may be unrealistic to expect national attention to shift away from the fervor that accompanies football, but these Egyptian champions have earned more than a passing mention.