Usually, they are pointed at with laughter by children, called stupid, paralysed and treated badly, just for being different from the norm. The lives of those with special needs in Egypt are all about suffering, starting from the general facilities which are not designed to deal with those with physical disabilities, to people who were not raised to accept the differences in dealing with others.
Despite the long hard journey they have already walked through, Egypt’s athletes with special needs proved that nothing is impossible when it comes to achieving dreams at the Special Olympics.
An amazing achievement was made by Egypt’s athletes returning home with 50 medals from the Special Olympics in Los Angeles. They came home with a total of four Gold, 20 Silver and 16 Bronze medals, earned from the participation of a total of 68 athletes in several sports at the competition.
Egypt’s athletes participated in a number of sports, including: aquatics, athletics, badminton, basketball, bocce, bowling, power-lifting, table tennis, tennis, equestrian, football and handball.
For the Gold medals, Amro Abdel-Maguid and Mohamed El-Gharbi earned them in the equestrian competition, as well as Ahmed Beshir in the shot-put. As for swimming, Egypt took Gold in both the backstroke and the freestyle swimming competition. Yasmine Soliman and Mahmoud Khalil earned Golds in the long jump and 200-metre running competitions, respectively, after facing hard opponents.
Gold medals also went to Mohamed Abdalla in the singles tennis and Shaymaa Ahmed and Wafaa Salem in the doubles tennis.
In some sports, Egyptian athletes took the gold and silver medals in different competitions like the free style swimming competition, backstroke and the singles tennis.
Winning the silver medal at the Bocce’s 100 metre running press was also added to the achievements of the young and very talented athletes. Mahmoud Abd Elmotaleb also received the Silver medal in the male bench press, dead lift and combination all lifts.
Talking to English-language Egyptian sports website Kingfut.com, Ayman Abdelwahab, MENA Special Olympics’ Managing Director, said: “I hope the Ministry of Youth and Sports opens its arms to those athletes, and to compel Egyptian clubs to include them in their activities.”
“I am sure that the Minister of Youth and Sports will make this issue a priority, since having a place for these athletes to train will enhance their skills,” he added.
The Los Angeles Special Olympics saw 6,500 athletes representing 165 countries attend, along with 30,000 volunteers and more than 500,000 spectators.