Positive inroads have been made into the development of canoe polo in Egypt following high-level training courses held in Cairo.

Members of the ICF Canoe Polo Committee Greg Smale and Mario Perez Lopez, assisted by Steve Watts (British Canoeing), recently returned from the Arab Contractors Sporting Club, Cairo, Egypt after conducting referee and coach training courses.

“Prior to the pandemic and as part of the Yupin Sports sponsorship of canoe polo we were able to donate ten full sets of equipment to Egypt, having established a real intent to grow the sport,” committee chair Greg Smale said.

“With the pandemic reducing and vaccinated travel again possible in most of the world I contacted the Egyptian Canoe Federation to try and follow up this equipment with training input.

‘Things happened very fast and with thanks to Eman Salah and Amr Temraz, within two weeks we were there. Steve kindly led the referee course while Mario and I conducted the coach training and Mario additionally did a lot of work with the players as we were able to get a little time ahead of a two-day competition.”

Sixteen (16) referees attended the training and with significant study all passed the written exam and six passed their Grade ‘C’ assessment.

Seven coaches from Cairo and Alexandria plus one from Saudi Arabia attended the two-day coaching course.

“The enthusiasm and commitment by all (players, referees and coaches) was commendable. I can’t remember there ever being a referee course where everybody passed, and this is with only two competitions having been played before we arrived.

“The standard of play really lifted from the start to the end of the competition with paddle fouls everywhere on the Friday morning slowly being stopped, and leading to two good finals being played on the Saturday.

“It was a really rewarding visit to see the knowledge and play all lift noticeably and we look forward to a return visit to see how things are developing.”

During the competition the ICF group and Egyptian Canoe Federation Board met to discuss future development, equipment requirements and canoeing in general.

“On behalf of the work team in the Egyptian Federation I would like thank Greg, Mario and Steve for helping us develop Canoe Polo in Egypt,” President Gen Ayman Sheweta of the Egyptian Canoe Federation said.

“It was a quick and positive response to come over to support us with amazing lectures and practice for all participants. We thank them again and wish for more visits and more development for canoe polo in Egypt and Africa." 

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