2019 African Games: Egyptian weightlifters hope to hoist medals
The 12th edition of the African Games start on Monday in Morocco where teams are busy with their final preparations. Egypt has a bevy of burly folk ready to go in weightlifting and looking to lift the country to the top of the overall medal standings for the seventh time. CGTN's Adel EL Mahrouky reports from Cairo.
Weightlifting is one of Egypt's most successful sports. This year however, the players are putting extra effort in training, because it's the Olympics qualification season. Their first stop in that road is the African Games.
MAHMOUD MAHGOUB EGYPT WEIGHTLIFTING FEDERATION PRESIDENT "The African Games is a very important stage in our Olympic preparations. We review our results there. And it usually gives us indications, if we're on the right track, or not. We try to work on our weaknesses before the World Championships. It doesn't mean that Africa is not a strong competition, there are challenges we see from North Africa, Nigeria and Ghana especially in lighter weight categories."
AHMED SAAD EGYPT WEIGHTLIFTER "The African Games is one stop on the main mission to World Championships, and from that to the Olympics, which is the most prestigious competition everyone looks forward to. I've participated three times in the Africa Games, winning all nine medals, hopefully this year they'll be 12."
The national federation had earlier took these players to Azerbaijan for a five-weeks closed-doors training camp, to boost their lifting numbers.
SARA SAMIR EGYPT WEIGHTLIFTER "We've all made better numbers in our last foreign camp. It's a motivation for us all. Hopefully we could challenge all players for the 60 gold medals offered."
For a team with such might, the number of medals in the Africa Games is not in question. To them, the color of the medals matters the most.
MAHMOUD MAHGOUB EGYPT WEIGHTLIFTING FEDERATION PRESIDENT "We hope the number of medals we will win would boost Egypt's chances to win the All-Africa Games. We hope to come back with 60 medals. We believe the gold medals' share would be dominant."
Egypt has won six of the 11 African Games held so far, thanks to this sport. In 2015 they've won more than 40 gold medals.
ADEL EL MAHROUKY CAIRO "The Egyptian national weightlifting team usually comes back from the Olympics or any other international competitions with more than one medal. To them the African Games is a preparation for such competitions. Adel EL Mahrouky, CGTN, CAIRO."