With China, Denmark and Singapore in their group, Egypt are the rank underdogs in Group A of the TotalEnergies BWF Sudirman Cup Finals 2023.
The African continental champions though put up a brave front, hoping to reap some positives out of what will doubtless be a challenging situation.
“For myself, I’m happy with this, playing China, Denmark and Singapore. I want to perform at my best. I’m very happy to be here, to be among the top 16 countries. It’s a huge record for us. I’m just trying to win. It will help me on the road to Paris. You must focus on the chances you have. I will try to fight every match, nothing is impossible.”
What makes his task more complicated is that he’s been nursing a right knee problem for several months, but Elgamal is looking at getting as many matches as possible under his belt as he eyes qualification to Paris 2024.
“My condition is 60 per cent better (than in January) and I must rest, but I’m trying to play because I lost too many points … this is the second time for me and Egypt at the Sudirman Cup, representing not just my country but our continent as well. It’s a huge experience to represent our culture and everything. Now I’m trying to perform at the highest level. It’s not my first time against these players, so I’m focusing on bringing Adham to the world.”
Hany, attempting to qualify in women’s singles and mixed doubles for Paris, called it an “honour” to be playing alongside the world’s best.
“I’m very excited,” said Hany. “It’s our second time to qualify for the Sudirman Cup. It’s an honour to be here with the top players. Our group is hard, but we’re here to compete and we’re ready. The qualification period (for Paris) has started, and we’ve prepared well.”
Coach Mahmoud Hafez smiled sheepishly when he spoke of going for a win, adding that the team was essentially looking for experience against the big guns.
“Our players will get experience. We have strong players at the African level, but not here … I hope they will play some good matches,” said Hafez. “I hope to learn from watching the other teams. There are a lot of points at stake for the Race to Paris, we hope to get as many points as possible.”
While the team is in Suzhou, the destination is Paris, and Nour Ahmed Youssri, No.145 in women’s singles, conceded as much.
“I will do my best to play well, and if I have a chance to win, I will just make myself die on court!” said Youssri.
“It’s a good chance for me to have an experience like this during qualification for Paris. I think this will make me ready for upcoming tournaments in other countries.”