LAUSANNE (SUI), July 4, 2012: The road to London 2012 has not been easy for Egypt’s gymnasts. But thanks to the determined efforts of the President Amr Mostafa El Saeid, the board members and the technical committees of the Egyptian Gymnastics Federation, various obstacles have been overcome and they can now look forward to what should be their greatest ever Olympics.
For the first time in the country’s history, four Egyptian gymnasts have qualified for the Olympic Games: one in Men’s Artistic, two in Women’s Artistic and one in the Individual Rhythmic Gymnastics. All four qualified through the continental quota system.
In the Men’s Artistic event, Egypt will be represented by 22-year-old Mohamed Sherif El Saharty. Having graduated from Cairo’s German school, Mohamed is now a student at Cairo University’s faculty of oral and dental medicine. He was first selected for Egypt’s junior national team at the age of 13 and has gone on to make a real impression on coaches, colleagues and technical staff, thanks not only to his talent, but his conduct and personality. Mohamed, who competed at all three FIG World Championships in the current cycle and at the London Test Event, counts his All-around titles at the 2011 Pan Arab Games and the 2012 African Championships among his greatest achievements.
Salma Mahmoud El Said (21), the first of Egypt’s two qualifiers for the Women’s Artistic event, is studying physical education, and has recently returned to competition after a serious injury. With strong will power and a tough programme, Salma has been working hard to ensure that London 2012 is a memorable occasion for her and for Egyptian gymnastics. Since the 2011 World Championships in Tokyo, where she earned her ticket to London, Salma has put herself through an intensive programme of technical preparation. On her road to the Olympics, the talented gymnast won the 2011 Arab Games and 2012 African Championships.
Her fellow Artistic competitor, Sherine Ahmed El Zeiny (21), will be representing her country for the second time at the Olympics, having also competed at Beijing 2008. Having completed her school education at Cairo’s Dutch school, the multilingual Sherine is currently studying at the city’s American University. In 2008 she became the first ever Egyptian WAG gymnast to qualify for the Olympics. Subsequently, she participated at the 2012 African Championships, where she led the Egyptians to the team gold. She is currently working with her coach in Amsterdam (NED), and hoping to build on her experience in Beijing by delivering an outstanding performance at London 2012.
Egypt’s sole representative in the Rhythmic event, Yasmine Mohmed Rostom, will celebrate her 19th birthday just two days before the Opening Ceremony. The student from Alexandria, who will be competing at her first Olympics, has two younger sisters and an older brother who are all talented gymnasts in their own right. Yasmine is due to take her final exams at Alexandria’s French school later this month.
Yasmine trains at Alexandria Sporting Club with national team coach Sherine Karem and she has also benefited from attending training camps in Russia and also with Bulgaria’s Despa Katelieva. She has competed at every World Championships since 2009 as well as several stages of the 2012 FIG World Cup series, and her results have been improving steadily. She won the recent Egyptian National Championships, much to the delight of her family who were in the hall to cheer her on, not least her grandmother who makes every one of Yasmine’s leotards by hand!
(Source: Egyptian Gymnastics Federation)
This article is part of a weekly series in the run-up to the London 2012 Olympic Games. ____ FIG