Dubai 2021 Para Badminton: Shaimaa hopes to inspire women players in Egypt
With no wheelchair training partner at her club, Alzahoor, in Cairo, Shaimaa trains with able-bodied players
Shaimaa Samy Ab D Ellatif is the lone representative from Egypt at the ongoing Dubai 2021 Para Badminton and she hopes to make the most of the opportunity—not just gaining experience but better the colour of her medal in international competition.
Shaimaa, who had started playing Para Badminton only in 2018, feels that she has progressed well in the game – reaching the top 20 of world rankings in women’s singles WH1 category and having won a mixed doubles bronze medal in Peru Para Badminton International 2020.
At the Dubai Para Badminton, the 40-year-old Egyptian is already into the mixed doubles semifinals alongwith India’s Girishkumar Jayanthilal Sharma and is hoping to improve her medal colour.
"Like everyone here, I am very excited to play in the first competition after the pandemic. The competition is tough here and it's a very good experience and preparation in the road to Tokyo 2020. My main aim is to qualify for Tokyo so I will try my best in the last qualifying event in Spain as well," said Shaimaa.
Inspired by Egypt’s Olympian shuttler Hadia Hosny, Shaimaa hopes to gain more experience playing in her upcoming tournaments including Tokyo 2020 and win a medal at Paris 2024 Paralympic Games.
“For me now, I want to compete in more championships, take experience and watch more champions playing in my classification. This will help me share my story and experience, and inspire more fellow women players back home. And one day we can dream to get a gold medal in major events.”.
With no wheelchair training partner in her club Alzahoor in Cairo, Shaimaa trains with able-bodied players.
“Para Badminton is a new sport in Egypt, in fact in Africa, having started in 2018. I also started playing the sport in 2018 and my first international tournament was in Fazza Para Badminton 2018. So, it is special for me. I hope I can make it more memorable playing the finals on Sunday.
“In Egypt we have 10 clubs, and around 70-80 disabled players in different classification and sports. There are many Para Badminton players but no wheelchair players in my club AlZahoor. So, I don’t have a fixed doubles partner and have to look for a new one every time.”
"But it’s okay if I am pairing with a good partner. Here, I am playing with my mixed doubles partner for the second time and women’s doubles for the first time. A better communication is the key to playing well in doubles so I try to communicate with my partner as much as I can,” said Shaimaa who alongwith Russia’s Tatiana Gureeva went down fighting to Austria’s Henriett Koosz and Switzerland’s Ilaria Renggli 21-16, 14-21, 21-13 in her women’s doubles WH1-WH2 third round match.
Shaimaa is now hoping to qualify for Tokyo 2020 via wildcard from Africa continent.
“I am just keeping my fingers crossed and will try my best to get good results in upcoming tournaments to strengthen my chances. Paralympics will be a dream come true moment,” she said.
Elsewhere, the knockout stage began on the day with top seeds in all the categories pulling off wins to advance. The quarter-finals and semifinals in a few categories will be played on Saturday.
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