Inspired Elgamal Seeks to Become Africa’s Icon

“I hope I can be a role model for badminton in Africa,” states Adham Hatem Elgamal.

The Egyptian, at No.113 Africa’s second-highest ranked men’s singles player behind Georges Julien Paul, has plunged headlong into realising this dream after completing his graduation.

Adham Hatem Elgamal.

The 24-year-old is leading his team at the ongoing All Africa Men’s & Women’s Team Championships, which will be followed by the All Africa Individual Championships. A training stint in Bangalore, at the Prakash Padukone Academy, is due to follow as he seeks to develop his game and make his way up the rankings in pursuit of his dream.

“I graduated last summer from Cardiff University in Egypt. So now I’m focussing on badminton, trying to go to Asia and Europe to improve my badminton. I want to be No.1 in Africa. I also want to train in Malaysia. My sponsor wants me train overseas,” he says.

This year started promisingly, for he qualified to his first HSBC BWF World Tour Super 500 event in singles at the YONEX-SUNRISE India Open; he and Doha Hany also won a match in mixed doubles, a rare achievement for an African pair at this level.

“I feel very happy to be here (India Open), to play a Super 500 event in men’s singles. We won our mixed doubles match and I think that’s history, it’s the first time Egypt or even Africa is winning a match (in a Super 500 event). I hope we perform better next time.”

His defining experience in recent months was Tokyo 2020. Although he and Doha Hany were drawn in a tough group with Zheng Si Wei/Huang Ya Qiong, Seo Seungjae/Chae Yujung and Robin Tabeling/Selena Piek, he continues to feel inspired by it.

“I’m the first Egyptian male to represent the country at the Olympics. It’s a fantastic dream for everyone. I hope I can qualify in two events next time.

“For qualification I played around 20 tournaments. It’s my passion. Travelling and playing badminton is my motivation. I only like to travel to play badminton.

“Everything has changed after Tokyo 2020. I’m trying to be more professional. Having played there and watched the best players I’m trying to focus on my game to be like one of them some day. Whatever I’m now is because of the Olympics.”

Elgamal and Doha Hany at Tokyo 2020.

Elgamal hopes to translate this momentum into results as he makes his onward journey.

“Badminton in Africa, not only in Egypt, is not that famous. But I hope I can make badminton well known in Africa and Egypt and I hope I can be a role model for badminton in Africa. My main focus is badminton. I only want to play badminton. I’m looking for more training and travelling and all of this.”

“I’m now a role model in Egypt. When I go they want to take pictures. So for me it’s a fantastic dream and I’m living it.”

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