News of fake outfits given to the team players, little attention given to any sport other than football and even lesser funds given to players like Alaaeldin Abouelkassem do not make for an Olympics champion.
But fencing champion Abouelkassem surprised us all last night as he finally raised our flag high in the London 2012 Olympics, winning the silver medal in men’s individual foil.
The 21-year-old played a nerve-wrecking match against the Chinese 28-year-oold Lei Sheng, losing at a close 15-13.
While the nation, well at least those who knew an Egyptian made it to the finals, held their breath as Abo El Kassem suffered an arm injury and required a ten-minutes medical time out, his score came in the last minutes at a very close 13-13. Lei scored the winning two points in the very last minute of the match. Abou El Kassem, a left-handed fencer, suffered an injury to his left shoulder that cramped his left arm.
To reach the final round Abou El Kassem has defeated Italian world champion Andrea Cassara, and four-time German world champion Peter Joppich.
Abou El Kassem dedicated his win to his late father, who has passed away recently, telling the press “This was the dream of my father and he left me three months ago.”
He added that he felt no pressure because nobody expected an Egyptian to win — if the little support and funds available for athletes secures them a win then we’re definitely on the right track.
The Alexandrian Abou El Kassem is the fist African and second Arab to have won an Olympic medal this year.
Show your support for Abouelkassem through his Twitter account: @AlaaElDinElSay1