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Egyptian Paralympians are Winning and Making History, Yet No One Cares. Why?

Egyptian Paralympians are Winning and Making History, Yet No One Cares. Why?

Egypt is competing at the 2020 Summer Paralympics in Tokyo, Japan, from 25 August to 5 September with the largest participation in the history of Egypt in the Paralympics with 49 players in 8 different sports.

Hold on!! Hold on!! Wasn’t the Olympics over nearly a month ago? So yeah, I understand the misconception.

But, and here is the question, are the Egyptian Paralympians Ignored?

How does the Olympic charter see this issue? Players like Hamadto, Sherif Osman, Rehab Ahmed, and many more don’t deserve the Egyptian media exposure?

And now, Let’s discuss.

What are the Paralympics?

The Paralympic Games or Paralympics are a periodic series of international multi-sport events involving athletes with various disabilities organized in parallel with the Olympic Games. The Paralympics has grown from a small gathering of British World War II veterans in 1948 to become one of the largest international sporting events by the early 21st century.

Egyptian Paralympians are Winning and Making History, Yet No One Seems to Care. Why?
A man walks past the logos of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics and Olympics. Photograph: Jae C Hong/AP

Egypt in the Paralympics

Historically, the Egyptian Paralympic Committee has invested in very few sports. These include wheelchair basketball, football for the deaf, goalball, and sitting volleyball on the team side. On the individual sport side, they have historically supported powerlifting, swimming, athletics, and table tennis.

In Tokyo 2020 Summer Paralympics

Egypt recorded its biggest participation in the history of Egypt in the Paralympics with 49 outstanding champions in 8 different challenging strenuous sports like Powerlifting, Parataekwondo, sitting volleyball, table tennis, Goalball, Swimming, Athletics, and Badminton.

Egyptian Paralympians are Winning and Making History, Yet No One Seems to Care. Why?
Egypt’s team arrive during the opening ceremony for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games at the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo on August 24, 2021. (Photo by CHARLY TRIBALLEAU / AFP) (Photo by CHARLY TRIBALLEAU/AFP via Getty Images)

So interesting, right? I don’t want to let you down, but really, nobody cares about it. There is no major burst of social media activity.

Paralympians vs Ignorance, the never-ending battle

Historically, The Egyptian Paralympians strive for equal treatment with non-disabled Olympic athletes. Still, there is a large funding gap between Olympic and Paralympic athletes, and it is not just a funding issue. The Paralympians strive for media attention, exposure, and people’s support. There is no difference between Mohamed Ibrahim and Sherif Osman weightlifting.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CTE0bi5MABK/

Most people and media in Egypt are not even curious about knowing more about the Egyptian Paralympian medalists in Tokyo 2020 Paralympics.

The powerlifters Sherif Osman, Mahmoud Attia, Fatma Omar, and Rehab Ahmed won Silver medals while Mohamed Sobhi won the Bronze medal, and they’re sad about losing the Gold medal!! While our people and media are not even caring. Know what they said after winning.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CTHc7mKMhx9/

While Ibrahim Hamadto was the winner of several honors over the years, the Japanese make him a legend in their country, and his image is present in most cities of Japan. This is because they set him as an example of determination and strong will.

At the same time, in our country, the Egyptian media does not remember him and the other Paralympic fighters unless they achieve historical achievements and make them an example of strongly ignoring your champions.

Egyptian Paralympians are Winning and Making History, Yet No One Cares. Why?
Hamadto became the first Egyptian athlete shown in an anime alongside the doll Somiti, the Paralympic mascot.

Nevertheless, people and media do not care about Malak Abdulshafi, the girl who topped the world ranks for short-distance swimming, and the miraculous Zeyad Kahil, the Paralympic champion.

Egyptian Paralympians are Winning and Making History, Yet No One Cares. Why?
Zeiad Kahil, and Malak AbdelShafi, The Egyptian Paralympic Swimmers

For Egypt specifically, the Paralympians champions even achieved more medals than the Olympians, with an enormous gap in the numbers. The Egyptian Paralympians since 1972 earned 177 Total medals, 49 Gold medals, 64 Silver medals, and 64 Bronze medals.

On the other hand, the Egyptian Olympians since 1912 achieved only 38 medals, 8 Gold medals, 11 Silver medals, and 19 Bronze medals. We are not comparing to say who is the best and worth our support. We are mentioning these numbers to say that both are Egyptians. Both of them are Humans and deserve our support, media exposure, and sponsorship till death; they are just ONE THING.

The disabled athletes need access to high-quality coaches that non-disabled athletes have to reach their full potential and win more medals at the Paralympics. Many of them have to worry about the cost of training and getting to practices travel, coaches, and equipment.

Yeah, there are areas in life where the Egyptians agree that it’s totally fair to discriminate and ignore

What does the Olympic charter say about discrimination?

The Olympic Charter is a set of rules and guidelines for organizing the Olympic Games and governing the Olympic movement.

Interestingly, the Olympic charter is silent when it comes to discrimination based on disability. However, given the history of discrimination against people with disabilities, it would appear reasonable to assume that discrimination based on disability is also incompatible with the tenets of the Olympic Movement.

The Olympic charter specifies that “any form of discrimination regarding a country or a person on the grounds of race, religion, politics, gender or otherwise is incompatible with belonging to the Olympic Movement.”

We believe that the success our Paralympians achieved and will achieve in the future in their sports can be turned into meaningful, long-term action to turn the world’s cheers into change.

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