After travelling across four different continents during 2023, the Citi Para Swimming World Series lands in Africa for the first time to complete its tour around the world as the final leg takes place in Cairo, Egypt.
The New Capital Sports City Swimming Pool is the stage for 74 athletes from 13 nations competing in multi-class races from Friday to Sunday (10–12 November).
This is the first time the Egyptian capital welcomes a major international World Para Swimming event, a fact that brings extra motivation to local athletes such as Paralympian Zeyad Kahil, one of the 23 Para swimmers representing the host nation.
“Egypt for the first time taking such a huge step, acknowledging very well this new era we’re about to join with athletes from different nations about to arrive. [I am] expecting high-level competition, and such new mysterious adventures motivate me a lot to give my best performance,” said Kahil.
If new adventures motivate Kahil that much, Egyptians in the crowd should expect to see an extremely inspired local star in action. The 23-year-old comes from two very different and equally tough challenges.
He competed in the Manchester 2023 Allianz Para Swimming World Championships in August and, one month later, raced in the Sardinia 2023 Open Water Cup in Italy.
At Manchester 2023, Kahil was one of the finalists in the men’s 200m freestyle S5 and set a new African record in the 100m breaststroke SB4.
“It was a bit challenging – which makes it more interesting and exciting. The fact I placed a new AF [African record] in the 100m breaststroke and was still the 8th indicates of how much it is getting harder every time and that’s what keeps us moving forward to get better”, the said.
In Sardinia, the swimmer faced a different environment competing in the sea, placing fourth in the 1.5km race and ensuring it was something worth adding to his CV.
“I imagined it would be more tense trying to compete physically in a long-distance meet, but thankfully the Italian Federation made it fair and simple. It actually seemed challenging at first but, in the end, it was on fire,” said Kahil.
The Egyptian athlete will be in the pool in five races at the World Series, seeking medals in the men’s 50m, 100m, and 200m freestyle in addition to 50m backstroke and 100m breaststroke.
“Egypt succeeding in hosting a World Series in such timing at the beginning of the Paralympics season is considered a good opportunity to test myself in my home country, and to evaluate myself technically as early as possible”, Kahil added.
The Egypt 2023 Citi Para Swimming World Series will be live streamed on World Para Swimming Facebook page and Zeyad Kahil will take over our Instagram account to share with us every detail of his routine in a competition day.
Alongside Zeyad Kahil, Malak Abdelshafi is another local hopeful at Egypt 2023.
The 20-year-old has already been a Paralympic finalist at Tokyo 2020, and now sets her eyes on Paris 2024. Between the two Games, the first World Series in her Egypt increases her pride to be swimming for her country.
“Competing in an international event in my home country, surrounded by my loved ones, is a truly special and heart-warming experience. Being able to display my skills on a familiar stage is priceless. Their presence is a powerful motivator, and it fills me with immense pride to represent Egypt”, she said.
Abdelshafi (class S5) will race six events in Cairo, including the one in which she went to the final in Tokyo, the women’s 100m breaststroke. The other events she will be competing in are the 50m, 100m and 200m freestyle, the 50m backstroke, and the 200m medley.
Turkish star turned into Barbie doll
Among the visitors, South Africa and Turkey will have the largest delegations in Egypt, both being represented by 10 athletes.
The South African squad will be spearheaded by Paralympian and World Championships medallist Christian Sadie (S7). He will race the men’s 50m and 100m freestyle, 100m backstroke, 50m butterfly, and the 200m medley.
Turkey’s Paralympic finalist and world champion Sumeyye Boyaci (S5) is a star in her country and even had a Barbie doll modelled after her ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Games. She will be searching for more podiums in Egypt in the women’s 50m and 200m freestyle, 50m backstroke, and 50m butterfly.
Egypt is the final stop of the 2023 Citi Para Swimming World Series journey that started in Melbourne, Australia in February.
In Europe the World Series took place in Lignano Sabbiadoro, Italy and Sheffield, Great Britain in March; followed by Berlin, Germany and Limoges, France in May.
The competition made two stops in the Americas, in Guadalajara, Mexico more recently in October, and in Minneapolis, USA back in April.
In the same month, the World Series travelled to Asia with a stop in Singapore.
The 2024 Citi Para Swimming World Series calendar has been already revealed and are available here.
Source : WorldParaSwimming