By Ahmed Talal
Tennis champion Mayar Sherif has claimed the spotlight and the headlines after her historic breakthrough at the Australian Open, one of the four major Grand Slams in the calendar year.
Cruising through the first-round match, winning straight sets: 7-5, 7-5; she is the first-ever Egyptian (not just Egyptian woman!) to win a Grand Slam match. She also etched her name in history when she became the first-ever Egyptian to qualify for the French Open (another Grand Slam event), which took the nation by storm.
After an emphatic spell of tennis during the qualifying rounds, she also found herself becoming the first-ever Egyptian to qualify for the delayed Olympic Games in Tokyo as her world ranking is the highest ever achieved by an Egyptian at 128.
Sherif never fails to remind us how instrumental the support of her Egyptian fans has been for her career, and just how much she appreciates the advice of rock-star footballer Mohamed Salah, both on the professional and personal fronts. Gaining the support of millions here at home while representing the nation globally, Sherif continues to make history and is doing so with real panache.
Say hello to the new squash Champion of the World, Nour El Sherbini who won this coveted title a total of 4 times, with her most recent victory at the 2019/2020 World Championship. Not only that, she is also the youngest ever female to win the World Championship title!
El Sherbini is a true sight to behold when playing squash, as her tenacity and style of play has earned her the nickname, “The Warrior Princess”. Showing that determination and will to win when she defeated fellow Egyptian Nouran Gohar, winning the match in spectacular fashion with a score of 11-9, 11-9, 11-6 to overtake the world’s first-place ranking in the CIB Egyptian Open Final.
She will be looking to defend her world title in Chicago later this year and we look forward to seeing what she can achieve. As she continues to grow her legacy, El Sherbini is quickly becoming a sports legend not just for Egyptians, but for the world.
An honorable mention goes out to Raneem El Weleily, a true squash legend with a professional career that has spanned 18 years and 24 professional titles. The 32-year-old has announced her retirement in June 2020, parting ways with the game she loves to focus on her family with her husband, Tarek Momen who is the current World Squash Champion.
This couple is the first-ever married World Champions, a first in the world, which had them featured in the Guinness Book of World Records. El Weleily’s glittering career has seen her take part in 35 tour finals and world-wide success.
She was the first-ever Arab woman to become world number one in any sport! This achievement in itself was enough to cement her name in the history books as a revolutionary figure in all of women’s sports. We want to wish her the best of luck in all of her future endeavors as she has truly earned everything she has.
Table Tennis (Ping Pong)
Dina Meshref was born and raised in a table tennis environment. Both her parents were once national champions. Despite her parents’ desire for Meshref to play regular tennis, she gravitated towards what she naturally loved.
Meshref has already participated in two Olympic Games at the London 2012 and Rio 2016 Games and is now setting her sights on the Tokyo Games. The current Africa Number One player has set a precedent at the Africa Top 16 Cup, winning it for a total of 8 times, with the last 4 being consecutive wins.
Her 4th consecutive title helped her secure a spot in the Women’s World Cup to be played later in October 2021 in Bangkok. This was vital for her as she was Africa’s only hope while competing in the 2020 Women’s World Cup. Recently, she has opted to compete with her hijab as she hopes to motivate more Muslim girls into playing sports proudly, which just shows how much of a class act she is on and off the table.
Female footballer Sarah Essam has been dubbed “Mo Sarah” after the Egyptian superstar footballer Mohamed Salah. Also sometimes referred to as the “The Egyptian Queen”, Essam has overcome all odds working her way to England to try out for England’s Stoke City.
After successfully getting past trials and signing, Essam became the first-ever Arab female to sign with an English team in the Premier League. She then proceeded to having an electric season later claiming the coveted Golden Boot award while at Stoke City, with a total of 12 goals in 12 games.
Her commitment and her love for the sport has sparked these achievements and will likely spark the rest of what’s to come. She is trying to ignite women’s football in Egypt even more and hopes to help take Egypt into the Women’s World Cup.
Her efforts inside the field have also afforded her opportunities with things like commentary and being offered to commentate alongside BBC on the CAF Award Ceremony and being a part of the African Cup of Nations commentary team.
Is that Cleopatra or is that Soraya Mohamed, the proclaimed “Basketball Queen of Egypt”? Mohamed’s basketball talent has earned her a slew of nicknames after various great figures like footballing greats Mohamed Aboutrika or Ronaldinho. She participated in the FIBA 3×3 African Cup where she helped secure victories and the title for Egypt.
Winning the FIBA 3×3 African Cup defeating Mali in the finals which was even more historic for Egypt as the country had also won the Men’s competition, making history after having wins for both genders.
With her stellar performances in the competition, she earned the MVP award which was unthinkable as she was the first ever Egyptian woman to earn that accolade! With an insatiable hunger for more success, Mohamed hopes to one day participate in the Olympic Games or the World Cup, or both. She also took part in the FIBA African Women’s Champion Cup finishing in 3rd place securing the Bronze position for the team.
Farida Osman known as, “The Golden Fish”, has truly inspired many swimmers both male and female with her outstanding accomplishments in the sport while representing Egypt in a number of occasions including the Swimming World Championships and the Olympic Games.
Osman has participated in the 2012 London and 2016 Rio Olympic Games, becoming the first ever Egyptian to win 2 World Championship medals. She now has her sights on the Tokyo Olympic Games. Her medals and records have made Egypt proud as the swimmer has become an icon in the Arab swimming community and beyond.
Osman has reached heights that surpass just her swimming accolades as she has been recognized by Forbes Middle East as one of the 30 most influential people under 30. She was also selected by the BBC as one of the 100 most inspiring women in the world, what a character.
Hedaya Malak Wahba, a highly promising Taekwondo athlete, has risen to many occasions and converted important victories for Egypt in spectacular fashion who has represented Egypt in the Olympic Games and became the first woman to win a Bronze medal for Egypt in the featherweight class.
She also brought many titles home like winner of the Mediterranean Games. She has now set her sights on preparing for the Tokyo Olympic Games, as she continues to train and search for international competitions to rack up points.
We want to wish her the best of luck as she heads into these competitions to gain more world rankings in order to qualify for the Tokyo Olympic Games.