National weightlifting team player Mohamed Ehab has become the new Egyptian trend, in light of the latest achievements garnered by the Egyptian champion in the world of weightlifting.
Olympic champion Mohamed Ehab, bronze medallist of the last Rio de Janeiro Olympics, won three gold medals in the 77-kilogram category at the World Weightlifting Championship in the United States held between November 28 to December 6.
Ehab won the gold after lifting a weight of 196 kilograms, and failed in the first attempt to raise the weight of 191 kilograms, and raised 191 kilograms in the second attempt, while harvesting the gold total after achieving a total of 361 kilograms, becoming the first Egyptian Quartet in history to climb the podium in three successive World Championships 2014, 2015, and 2017.
Egyptian weightlifter Mohamed Ehab, born November 21, 1989 in Cairo, was able to reap many achievements besides the Olympic bronze. He won the second place in the World Men’s Championship held in Kazakhstan in 2014 and the second place in the world championship held in 2015 in Houston, while looking for another Olympic medal at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
How did you win the three medals despite the ministry’s decision to rationalise expenses?
The decision to rationalise expenditures applied to Egyptian sports in general due to the economic conditions experienced by the country. Yet we replaced the few foreign camps we usually joined by tough training, especially as I was aiming to achieve the gold medal.
Have you received sufficient support from officials before the tournament?
Of course, the Egyptian Weightlifting Union was supportive from the beginning, in addition to the Minister of Sports Khalid Abdulaziz who met me and promised to minimise all the obstacles in order to raise the flag of Egypt on Olympics podiums. I learned later that he decided to award me and Sara EGP 1m after the medals.
Why did you choose weightlifting?
My father was a weightlifting player and the head of the Fayoum area in the game. He wanted to see his children as champions in the game and to achieve what he could not achieve. Hence, the game entered my heart and I loved its practice since childhood.
What are your ambitions after achieving this achievement?
I want to win a gold medal at the next Olympic Games.
When did you start your journey with the game?
I was born in 1989 and started the game from the age of seven. I practiced it with my three brothers, but the academic life stood in the way to them, while I completed my journey. After my father enrolled me in the talent school in Cairo, I was also trained by Jamal Eweis, Sabri Eweis, and Muhammad Eweis in Fayoum.
At 13 years of age, I got my first national championship and my first championship. Then a year later I got the National Championship for 14 year-olds. Then I joined high school in Cairo. I completed my university education and got my bachelor degree in commerce. I completed my military service.
I enlisted in the military in 2014, and then I started preparing for major tournaments. Now I have completed my 18 years with weightlifting, and I look forward to more achievements following the completion of the Rio 2016 Olympics.
How many tournaments have you got?
I have won many tournaments since the game started at the age of 13. My first championship was the National Championship, but the most important competitions I won were: six gold medals in Arab championships, six gold and silver medals in African championships, three bronze and silver medals during my game I won four bronze and one bronze medals at the World Youth Championships and recently my bronze medal at the Rio 2016 medal was the most important medal for me.
What difficulties did you encounter during your journey?
My path was full of difficulties. During my journey with the game, my father, who was taking care of me and my expenses, then my older brother, who took over after my father’s death, died. I was suspended for two years were on account of errors in medical procedures in Egypt.
Why did you apologise for meeting President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi twice?
President Al-Sisi invited me to attend a Ramadan Iftar and I apologised. Then he invited me to come with the Egyptian family, I also apologised. The Olympics were only two months away, and I could not cancel training for one day. I apologised to the presidential institution and explained my situation to them, luckily they were very understanding and they supported me.
After winning the 2016 Rio Olympics medal, has your interest increased?
After I won the medal, people’s view of me changed, and everyone knew me, in addition to being honoured by the governor of Fayoum and the dean of Fayoum University, gifting my mother and I a free Umrah. Also, Hisham Wali, a parliament member, and a representative from the Ministry of Youth and Sports welcomed me at the Cairo Airport.
Why have you announced that you will retire after the Tokyo Olympics?
Yes, I will retire after the Tokyo Olympics. I am an academic player. I know the arts and rules of the game very well. The older I get the less chance I have in the weightlifting game, and I will be over 30 years after the Tokyo Olympics.
What do sports players in Egypt demand?
I ask to change the rules that apply to the player, and not to apply discounts on medals. The state takes its right in taxes and the player should take the medals. The rewards must be paid quickly and not postponed or delayed due to red tape processes.
The players of individual games are struggling to achieve a medal, so pay attention to them since the start of the game and not before the tournaments in a short time that does not allow them to compete at a strong and equal level. I also ask Fayoum officials to look after athletes and individual game players and the development of sports facilities.
What do you ask Fayoum governorate officials?
I ask the advisor, Wael Makram, governor of Fayoum, to grant me a piece of land from the governate, in memory of my father. He was a hero in the game and I was also honoured. I demand a flat for my family. My mother is sick and needs comfort which is not available in the industrial zone in which we live.
What are your ambitions?
I am looking for a gold medal at the next Tokyo Olympics, I will not rest, and I will do my best in the coming days to achieve the gold for Egypt. And I will participate in the next World Championships as a preparation for the Olympics.
Is it true that you abstained from marriage for the sake of weightlifting?
This is true because my financial situation are very modest. I am a rational person, I spend money from my modest job at the electricity company on training, meals, transportation, and clothing, and I cannot afford getting married and having children.
Do you see that weightlifting players in Egypt are receiving the necessary attention?
Those who are at the summit did not get due attention, so what do you think of those who are at the bottom? I appeal to officials to maintain the existing cadres, to give them their due appreciation, and not to disregard the fact that other countries welcome the talented. While those officials were ignoring me, I considered travelling to Qatar.
Currently the tone of despair among young people has become very high .. What is your message to youth?
I want to tell them that if we aren’t hopeful, we will not be good recipients of God’s mercy. God is greater and more merciful than all phenomena and signs, than all despair, God grants us joy, we have won important medals in a difficult time, because god knows that people need to be happy. Tomorrow will be better. You strive and leave the rest to God.