Despite being 29 years old, and struggling to find a rowing school to accept her in Egypt, World Record Holder Asmaa Al- Zohairy was already engrossed in the sport and could not resist learning all its details about water and one’s soul.
Within only two years, Al-Zohairy was able to overcome all the milestones and join Egypt’s Rowing National team after achieving the world record of rowing 1104m only in four minutes in her age category. Afterwards, she broke another record at the 2018 National Indoor Rowing Championship, setting another new Egyptian record that has yet to be surpassed by any other female rowing player.
While having her eyes set towards the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, Al-Zohairy decided to open her own rowing school in which she accepts people of all ages, especially women who are categorised as too old to learn the sport, just like she was .
“When I started rowing, I found that there were very few schools in Egypt as the sport is quite unknown in Egypt. So, through my school I want to open my doors to people of all ages, especially the old ones to learn and enjoy it the way I did,” she told Daily News Egypt.
She explained that rowing has taught her a lot of things, including self-rhythm and connecting to nature, which she wishes to help others learn as well.
The school is named scull and blades, and it opened its doors to very few people “whom were all my friends that only wanted to support,” she explained, adding “but soon after they tried rowing and saw the difference it made to their lives, they started committing and bringing others.”
Within a year, the school managed to have a team of 30 rowing passionate members that exercise daily, other than the individuals who show up on a weekly basis to learn more about rowing.
“We have everything that it takes for the sport to be more popular that it is. It’s a pharaonic sport that is engraved on temples, and anyone can practice it as the Nile is open for everyone,” she added.
The world champion aims to raise people awareness about rowing, and to start spreading the spirit of trying it, especially “as it has no specific requirements in body or age, as most other sports have.”
All pictures were taken by Fadel Dawood.