Written by Ahmed Badawi
I know this article might be a bit late; a couple of things have come up recently yet it’s never too late to congratulate our exceptional national heroes this month; so here goes nothing!
The Rio Paralympics has come to a close! Safe to say it has been a triumphant one for our Egyptian athletes, as they managed to achieve a fair share of 12 medals in different disciplines.
From start to finish, we successfully achieved 3 gold medals, 5 silver and 4 bronze. Power lifting had the biggest contribution to our medal count with 10 medals. We’ve achieved a silver in the 100m sprint and a bronze in volleyball.
We started off strong with what was probably the highlight of the tournament: the triumphant win of the legendary Sherif Othman of his third straight gold medal. It’s not by any means exaggerated to give him such a description because rarely does it exist, an unbeaten Olympic champion in 8 years. It’s his ambition to double the number of gold medals in his record for the coming years.
The medals kept ringing since then, with our weightlifters pushing for glory with every lift. Randa Tag and Mohammed AlDeeb were the names that carried the gold in their respective categories.
Two other champions extended their legacy this year. Fatma Omar and Shabaan El-Dessouky won their fifth consecutive Paralympic medal since 2000. The former narrowly missed another record of five straight gold medals by lifting 2kg less than Nigeria’s Lucy Ejike. El-Dessouky won his third bronze medal.
Sprint & Volleyball
Mostafa Fathalla was 0.09 second away from crowning his exuberant participation with gold as he came second in the 100m race in the standing category. The final day witnessed an Egyptian team of 12 volleyball champions who edged past the hosts to secure a bronze after losing to the Bosnians in the semifinals.
Unfortunately, Egyptian swimmers were not lucky enough to win any medals, same for the table tennis teams which was ousted in the quarter-final by China.
But the Paralympics aren’t just about the wins
The journey wasn’t short of emotional moments. From the overwhelming feeling of joy carried by our champions, when the Egyptian flag flied higher above any, to the stories told by the participants who have not only defeated the opposition in competitions but also defeated the inner opposition caused by any physical impairment. Maybe that was summed up by table tennis player Ibrahim Hamadtou when he said “Nothing is impossible. The disability is not in the arms or legs. The disability is to not persevere in whatever you would like to do”.
Paralympics was a spell of inspiration that all Egyptians needed. One in which our athletes legitimately proved they can achieve big. So, will our champions extend their legacy even more? And will we finally see enough attention given to these sports to out dig more champions?