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Wednesday, 2 June 2021

Three bronze medals and lots of firsts for Egypt’s female Olympians at Rio 2016

Our last national appearance at the Olympic Games in Rio De Janeiro five years ago saw Egyptian athletes bring home three bronze medals and break ground on some major historic feats for our women athletes on the global stage. Some of our best performances in 2016 came in both men’s and women’s weightlifting competitions, where we gained two bronze medals and ranked collectively higher than in any other sport.

Sara Ahmed Samir, 18, made history as the first Egyptian woman to secure an Olympic medal after coming in third place in the 69 kg women’s weightlifting event. Samir lifted a total of 255 kg (112 kg in snatch and 143kg in clean and jerk).

Mohamed Ihab, 27, was the second Egyptian to medal, claiming bronze in the men’s 77 kg weightlifting event. He secured a podium position after lifting a total 361 kg (165 kg snatch and 196 kg in clean and jerk). Ihab was previously barred from participating in the 2012 London Olympics after failing a dope test but performed exceptionally well in 2016.

Hedaya Malak, 23, was the third Egyptian athlete to be awarded a bronze medal after coming in third place in the women’s 57 kg Taekwondo event. Malak defeated Belgian fighter Raheleh Asemani with a golden kick in the fourth round, breaking a three-round tie.

A first for women’s beach volleyball: Doaa El Ghobashi and Nada Moawad’s participation in the women's beach volleyball competition in 2016 marked the first time for an Egyptian team to qualify for the game and the first ever appearance of a beach volleyball athlete in the hijab.

Close, but not quite: 25-year-old weightlifter Shaimaa Haridi fell short of a medal position in 2016, coming in fourth place in the women’s +75 kg weightlifting event after lifting a total 278 kg. Afaf El Hodhod, 20, came in fifth place in the women’s 10m air pistol competition, where she scored 137.1 points and became the first Egyptian to reach the finals in the event. And 27-year-old freestyle wrestler Inas Mostafa came in fourth place in the women's 69kg category and became the first Egyptian woman to reach the semifinals at an olympic freewrestling contest.

Notable mentions: Although 21-year-old swimming champ Farida Osman finished in 12th place in the women’s 50 meter butterfly event with a time of 58.26, she set a new African record for the contest. Nadia Negm finished in sixth place in Final D, 24th place overall at the single sculls rowing event but came home with the best-ever performance for an Egyptian female athlete in rowing. Haidi Morsi ranked 28th in the modern pentathlon but became the youngest Egyptian athlete to ever participate in an Olympic event at just 17 years’ old.

Those that didn’t quite meet expectations:

  • Middleweight boxer Hossam Bakr, who was Egypt’s best chance of winning a boxing medal, missed out on the podium after an upset that saw Mexico’s Misael Rodriguez go through to the semis.
  • London 2012 fencing silver medalist Alaa Aboul Kassem was also among those who fell short of expectations in 2016 after being eliminated from the men's individual foil round of 16 by Italian Daniele Garozzo.
  • Led by star Ahmed El Ahmar, the Egyptian men’s handball team was eliminated during the group stage after winning only one game.
  • Called the country’s best ever swimmer, Ahmed Akram was aiming for a place on the podium of the 1.5k meter freestyle but ultimately finished in 11th place.

The political statement: Judoka Islam El Shehaby refused to shake hands with Israeli opponent Or Sasson after their 100 kg+ contest. The spectacle stoked uproar from international media outlets and some harsh words from the International Olympic Committee, which alleged that El Shehaby had been reprimanded and sent home — a claim the Egyptian judo FA denies.

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