The Egyptian Handball Federation (EHF) is preparing to host the IHF World Men’s Handball Championship on time, January 2021, despite the ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, according to President of the Egyptian Handball Federation (EHF) Hisham Nasr. The championship is set to take place amid strict precautionary measures against the pandemic, he added.
The global pandemic has caused a significant economic crisis, as well as upheaval in almost all other aspects of daily life, and has caused either the cancellation or postponement of all major sporting events that were to be held in 2020.
EHF President Hisham Nasr talked to Daily News Egypt to clarify many important matters about the upcoming tournament among other issues.
Are reports true that the World Men’s Handball Championships will be cancelled due to the coronavirus?
This is absolutely false. The International Handball Federation (IHF) aims to hold the championship on time, as agreed upon. The preparations for the championship are going well and according to plan, and the tournament will be one of the best in the history of handball competitions, especially as the state is investing in new venues. We anticipate the organisation will be good, as this is the second time Egypt will host the championship, with the first time being in 1999.
Can you tell us about the latest preparations for the championship?
Preparations are underway, despite the circumstances around the COVID-19 outbreak, which has impacted the work, but we are still capable of matching the timetable. We have three new courts ready to host the tournament: in the New Administrative Capital (NAC), Borg El-Arab, and the EHF headquarters in 6th of October City. The latter provides a giant handball court that all Egyptian handball fans are proud of, as it boasts modern facilities at the highest level for 4,500 fans.
Will the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization in Al-Fustat host the World Handball Championship draw, as you mentioned before?
Indeed, it is one of the places proposed for hosting the Championship draw. We are currently studying the appropriate timing for the draw, and we will soon open up the doors to take on volunteers to benefit from their efficiency, as happened at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations.
Can the Egyptian team win the championship?
The Egyptian team is a strong candidate for achieving good results, but it is a difficult competition to win. The national team includes very strong elements, and so do the youth and junior teams.
Some see previous comments you made on the 8-year presidency term as contradictory – can you elaborate?
I was not contradictory, but rather it was necessary that the EHF General Assembly extends my presidential term for a period of six months. This was so that I could complete my duties during the World Championship next year. I ensure I perform these duties with responsibility, since I started the preparations and must see it through.
The General Assembly approved the proposal, but it faces legal barriers, especially since the regulations stipulate the extension for four-year term or an Olympic session. The decision of the General Assembly was to cancel the eight-year clause, and emphasised that its existence is like the lack thereof.
What about local sports federations’ elections?
Federation elections will be held after the Tokyo Olympic Games, which was postponed for an entire year due to the spread of the coronavirus. Postponing the elections has become a necessity by law, especially since current sports federations have not completed their four-year terms due to the issuance of the Sports Law in 2017, and no Olympic Games having passed.