Interview | The inspiring story behind viral photo of Egyptian fan in Russia
Many Egyptians have traveled to Russia to watch the Pharaohs take part in the 2018 World Cup but one fan in particular captured the hearts of many football fans around the world.
Hassan Sedky is a 25-year-old Egyptian who is currently pursuing a dual Master’s degree in Quantitative Finance and Economic data analytics at the University of Texas at Arlington (UTA). Before the viral picture, Sedky was better known for winning the National Wheelchair Basketball Tournament in 2017 with UTA.
“I’ve played sports since I was a kid, mainly basketball,” Sedky revealed. But all that changed in 2011 when he was in a car accident that left him in a wheelchair. Yet, that didn’t stop him from playing wheelchair basketball after he was introduced to the sport as part of his rehab.
“Three years later I moved to Texas to play for the University of Texas Arlington Movin Mavs team and continue my education. Fast forward another three years we worked our way to a National Championship,” he added on UTA’s NWBT 2017 win. UTA beat Missouri 49 to 35 with Sedky playing 33 minutes of the match. Only one other UTA player played more than the Egyptian in the final game.
“I came to Russia for the World Cup and so far it’s been incredible. My friend, Mostafa Amin, and I were at the FIFA Fan Fest in Moscow for the opening ceremony. People were celebrating the win after the Russia vs. Saudi game and I think this is when the picture was taken,” Sedky continued on the now-viral photo.
“I didn’t know any of the fans next to us we had just met them and we started cheering for each other’s teams. After a few “Vamos Egipto!”s and a couple of chants in Spanish (that I didn’t understand), I found myself up in the air waving the Egyptian flag!
“Basically, I felt on top of the world! It’s amazing to see people come together like that. To feel like you are included. That you are not sidelined because of your circumstances, whatever they may be,” the 2017 NWBT champion reflected.
“Life deals every single one of us a different hand. It is our duty to get the absolute best life we can out of it.” – Hassan Sedky
“I didn’t know the picture was being taken at the moment (I would have posed, haha!), So I really never knew that it was going to go viral! It’s an amazing feeling to send this message to people around the world.”
Since then, the powerful image has now circulated around the world with many commenting on it’s message of inclusiveness, something Sedky full-heartedly believes in.
“I urge every single person out there who thinks that he is disabled to change his perspective completely. We are not disabled; we’re just living a different life, different challenges, different opportunities, and different abilities.”
“Wheelchair basketball has changed my life and has given me a world of opportunities. I want all disabled athletes to be able to experience this in their own way and reach their maximum potential,” Sedky concluded on his personal mission.
After the accident, Sedky became the inspiration for the AlHassan Foundation which aims to “ensure effective inclusion with physical challenges across the MEA region.”
KingFut would like to thank Hassan Sedky for his time and wish him the best of luck on his studies and future endeavours.
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