The Egyptian national para-athletics championships concluded yesterday in Alexandria at the Alexandria Stadium, with over 400 athletes competing from 21 different governorates in the country. The competition, which got underway last Friday, saw 135 competitors get classified by national classifiers for the first time. National team coach Nabil El Shazly, along with other coaches, were honored during the competition.
Egyptian sportspeople with disabilities often have a hard time trying compete at the national and international level. Essam Abdul Jamil, a para-athletics competitor who medalled at the Egyptian national para-athletics championships from 2007 to 2014, lacks support to compete and has been forced to sell his medals in order to feed his family. The story was originally reported by MBC 2 in Egypt, and has subsequently been picked up by other news outlets in the region. Essam claims that, despite being given the opportunity to represent Egypt internationally, no funds were provided for travel and other training assistance.
Egyptian participation in athletes at the Paralympic has been on the decline since the 1980 Summer Paralympics when the country had 81 track and field number of events Egyptians participated in at the Games. After a decline in the next four Games, the total number of events Egyptians participated in peaked again at the 1996 Summer Paralympics when Egypt sent 33 competitors in athletes. Egyptians only competed in 9 events in London, 1 more than Beijing. This has mirrored Egypt’s fall as a medal winning nation in the sport, when they won 22 medals in Atlanta with 7 of those gold but only 3 in London, 1 silver and 2 bronzes. These three medals were won by Metawa Abouelkhir, Raed Salem, and Ibrahim Ahmed Abdelwareth.