Egyptian weightlifter and star Sara Ahmed

Famous Nilanjan Hajra
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Egyptian weightlifter

Sara Samir Elsayed Mohamed Ahmed is just 23. Yet as an Arab sportsperson, she already has unparalleled feathers in her hat. The Egyptian weightlifter is the first Arab woman ever to win an Olympic weightlifting medal. She is also the first Egyptian woman to receive an Olympic medal on the podium. She has several gold medals from various Mediterranean, African and Arab championships. Young Sara has already etched out for herself a place of pride in Egypt’s sports history.

Growing up days 

Sara comes from a humble background. She was born on January 1, 1998, in a nondescript village named Al-Huaniya, located in the Ismailia Governorate, in north-eastern Egypt. Therefore, she did not have the springboard of starting her career in a major city with adequate training facilities. However, the Egyptian weightlifter has a supportive family in two senses. First, the sport of weightlifting is for her a family tradition of sorts. Both her father, who passed away in 2015, and her elder brother were national-level weightlifters in Egypt. Indeed, this is what inspired her to take up the sport as a serious career option when she was barely 12.

Secondly, far from any discouragement, Sara was encouraged by them to go ahead and fulfill her dream. Her father was particularly supportive. “I remembered also my father who passed away in 2015 before the Junior World Championships where I won three gold medals. So, I dedicate this achievement to him for his help and his encouragement. I owe him a lot,” said Sara after her historic achievement at the Rio Olympics in 2016.

Beginning in 2010, the Egyptian weightlifter scored a series of successes in regional and local championships. Eventually, she became a member of the national team. And just in two years, she began achieving international success. In 2012 Sara took the gold in the 63 Kg. category in the Junior African Championships, held in Tunis. Next year Sara again took the gold in the Youth World Championships, in Tashkent. Sara began competing at the senior level from the Mediterranean Games, 2013.

Achievements 

By 2014 Sara’s career was in full throttle. The Egyptian weightlifter won the gold medal in 2015 in the 69 Kg category in the African Games, held in Brazzaville. In the same year, Sara narrowly missed third place, coming up fourth in the World Championships, in Houston. Her true dazzling moment came a year later. Sara won the bronze medal in the Rio Olympics lifting a combined weight of 255 Kgs. Through this feat, she became the first Arab woman to win a weightlifting medal in the Olympics. She also became the first female Egyptian to take a medal in the nation’s 104-year long history in the Olympics.

Continuing with her winning run, Sara took the gold in the 69 Kg. division in the Mediterranean Games in 2018. The Egyptian weightlifter has now set her eyes on winning the gold in the 2020 Summer Olympics, in Tokyo, scheduled to be held in July this year.