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Awty Student Mohamed Hamza to Compete at Summer Olympic Games
Hamza Set to Become Youngest Men’s Foil Fencer in History of the Games By Gwen R. Cario 02-Jul-16
Correction: An earlier version of this article claimed that Mohamed Hamza would be the youngest men’s foil fencer in Olympic history, however Mohamed will in fact be the second-youngest men’s foil fencer out of the 3,554 fencing Olympians with known ages, barely missing the record by just 17 days. ________________________________________________________________________ Imagine the amount of discipline, loyalty, and sacrifice one must give to reach arguably the biggest stage in the sports world, the Olympic Games. It’s a stage that many dedicated athletes strive for, but few ever reach. Now, imagine reaching this feat just after finishing your sophomore year in high school. Meet Mohamed Hamza, a 15-year-old student at The Awty International School. Hamza is set to become the second-youngest men’s foil fencer in this year's Olympic Games when he competes for his country, Egypt, on August 12, 2016 in Rio, Brazil. Hamza comes from a family of fencers, but never felt the pressure to become one himself. His mother and father, who were both national champion fencers in Egypt, encouraged him as a young child to try all sports including basketball, swimming, and soccer to name just a few. Nevertheless, at the early age of four Hamza decided that he loved fencing, and even had dreams about competing in the Olympic Games one day. When he was 13, Hamza began joking about competing at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. Little did he know that day would come much sooner than he expected. Hamza’s discipline, dedication, and determination, along with his passion for the sport, has enabled him to make his lifelong dream come true. He trains four times a week at Salle Mauro Fencing Academy in Bellaire, with each session lasting 90-120 minutes. Since his father, Maher Hamza, is his coach, Hamza also has the flexibility of additional training sessions at home or at a nearby fitness gym. Some weeks, he trains seven days a week. In addition to training, he also competes on a regular basis. This past school year alone, Hamza participated in 27 fencing competitions across the globe including Saint Petersburg, Shanghai, and Uzbekistan. Qualifying for the Olympic Games in fencing is no easy task. The top four teams in the world automatically qualify. Then the best team from each continent, (Europe, North/ South America, Asia, and Africa) will qualify to Rio. Egypt is the top ranked team in Africa, and it is ranked 9th in the world in Foil. Once qualified, the country then chooses four fencers to represent them at the Olympic Games. Competing and excelling in several senior level tournaments helped Hamza get ranked as one of the top fencers to compete for Egypt. With the Summer Olympic Games quickly approaching, Hamza is currently in France attending training camps for 20 days before traveling to Egypt to meet up with his family and make final preparations for Rio. Other than living out his lifelong dream of competing in the Olympic Games, Hamza is most excited to participate in the opening ceremony and to see, and possibly meet, star athletes from around the world. Looking past Rio, Hamza plans to continue fencing during his last two years at Awty, and hopes to compete at the collegiate level. Who knows? Maybe we will see him again in 2020 competing at the Olympic Games in Tokyo after all. CLICK HERE to view Hamza’s journey to the Olympic Games, which begin on August 5, 2016. Photo and video courtesy of the Hamza family.
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