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Olympics Review: High hopes, wondrous weightlifters, and tepid teams
The 2016 Olympics in Rio was arguably the most popular edition in the history of the prestigious competition, and Egypt enjoyed some success.
Egypt sent over 100 athletes to Rio, ultimately coming back home with 3 bronze medals, two in weightlifting and one in taekwondo. KingFut reviews our athletes’ performances in the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Egypt missed two crucial athletes in this Olympics, javelin thrower Ihab Abdelrahman and Greco-Roman Wrestler and Olympic medal holder Karam Gaber. Both athletes were suspended for positive drug tests, with Ihab only having received his suspension weeks before the competition. These two athletes represented Egypt’s best chance at winning a gold medal.
Egypt got off to a decent start with Nadia Negm and Abdel-Khalek El-Banna advancing to the rowing quarter-finals, but having no luck in the further rounds. In Shooting, Afaf El-Hodhod made history by reaching the finals, making her the first Egyptian shooter to ever reach the final in any Olympic games.
One of the most controversial events of the games occurred in judo, as it took a political turn after Islam El-Shehaby lost to Israeli Or Sasson and then refused to shake the Israeli’s hand. This act resulted in an uproar in the worldwide media, but El-Shehaby defended his decision. Another Judoka, Ramadan Darwish, had high hopes, as he was included in KingFut’s Olympians to watch, but he lost in the round of 32 to German Karl-Richard Fry.
The sport Egyptians excelled in the most was weightlifting. The Pharaohs managed to grab two bronze medals, one each in the women’s and men’s competitions. Sara Ahmed Samir was Egypt’s first ray of sunshine in what was a frustrating Olympics to Egyptians. Samir clinched Egypt’s first bronze in the 69 weight category in weightlifting, lifting 143kg in the Clean and Jerk.
Mohamed Ihab won another bronze in weightlifting shortly after Samir’s victory. The Egyptian weightlifter managed a personal best of 165kg in the snatch section, before lifting 196kg – 5kg less than his personal best in 2015 – in the clean-and-jerk to finish with a total of 361kg.
In Taekwondo, Hedaya Malak surprised the whole sports community by defeating reigning world champion Mayu Hamada in a tense quarter-final match. Hedaya lost the semi-final but defeated Belguim’s Raheleh Asemani to snatch the third and final bronze medal for Egypt.
— KingFut.com (@King_Fut) August 19, 2016
The team sports did not go as planned for the Egyptians. The men’s volleyball team won its first ever Olympic match by defeating Cuba, but that was the only win the team recorded in the group stage.
The handball team was no different, putting in a disappointing performance not expected by the African champions. Egypt lost two matches, won one, and drew one.
The women’s beach volleyball team made history and were at the forefront of controversy. On one hand, this was Egypt’s first ever Olympic appearance in beach volleyball. On the other hand, they were the first team to ever compete in hijab, which gained the world’s attention. Despite this, they were eliminated in the preliminary round after losing all three of their matches.
Egyptians have a right to feel a sense of pride in Hedaya Malak, Sara Ahmed, and Mohamed Ihab, but also should expect more from a country of Egypt’s size and history. Despite sending more than 100 athletes, only three bronze medals were won, and the team performances left a lot to be desired.
KingFut congratulates all Olympians on their performances and hope to have more athletes to cheer on during Tokyo 2020.