AGE 30 | Egypt
Mohamed is a world Tennis Champion. He competes year round in championships nationally as well as internationally and is currently training for the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics.
Tell me a little bit about yourself. Where did you grow up?
I was born in Monufia and after I completed my University studies I moved to Cairo where I work.
When did you start playing sports?
I started when I was 12-13 years old in Junior high at “Monufiah” District and they only had volleyball which I practiced for a while and I decided to stop it. When I moved to Cairo, I searched for a few sports clubs for other sports I could play. It was difficult, until one day while I was in a club and I discovered the sport of tennis that was for disabled individuals, which was new to Egypt. I liked it, started to practice, and continued to compete until I became first place for the past two years.
"Tennis is one of the most difficult sports for disabled individuals. For me tennis was a joy."
Why did you want to start playing sports?
I got disabled when I was 2 years old. Since I was young and my goal was to be an Olympic athlete.
What was your biggest challenge to get into the sport?
Tennis is one of the most difficult sports for disabled individuals. For me tennis was a joy. It disconnects me from the rest of the world. I always plan how to win a game.
How did you overcome that challenge?
The first challenge was how the get to practice tennis especially since it is not an easy sport for anybody. How to hold the racket by hand while your hand should be moving the wheelchair at the same time, was not easy. It was difficult at the beginning to manage the coordinations, but after a while it became easier. Another challenge was how people were discouraging me and making you feel it is impossible to handle. But, I learned “Just start and you will be able”.
How has your participation in the sport affected you as a person?
I learn to become patient while I wasn’t by nature. It changed my business ethics and I became more disciplined, enthusiastic and loved the feeling of victory. Success eventually becomes the way of life during the match and at work. It gave me the endurance and taught me to how to plan to become number 1.
If there was one thing you could change in the sport or people’s perception what would it be?
People always look at disabled athletes as individuals who are trying to fill up their free time and using sports as entertainment. However, it isn't a hobby, and it is very challenging and very hard work. People need to know that a very high percentage of the community are "disabled". Around 17 millions which is almost 20%.
"People need to know that a very high percentage of the community are "disabled". Around 17 millions which is almost 20%."