Egyptian champion swimmer Farida Osman is hoping her latest achievement, of winning the Mohammed bin Rashid Creative Sports Award last week, can inspire young Arab women to pursue sport, and prove to the world that females from this region can excel at the highest level.
The 22-year-old Osman became the first Egyptian — male or female — to claim a medal at a World Aquatics Championship in the pool when she took 50m butterfly bronze in Budapest last July. She shared the podium with swimming superstars Ranomi Kromowidjojo and Sarah Sjostrom, and was given a hero’s welcome when she returned back to Egypt.
Her feats earned her the ‘Distinguished Athlete’s Achievement’ award at the MBR Creative Sports Award ceremony in Dubai last week, where Osman’s fellow Egyptian Nour El Sherbini, the world No. 1 in squash, was also honoured.
“Winning with Nour is I think something very important to Arab women, because we are representing Arab, Egyptian women, so the fact that we won this award is just getting awareness and attention from people all over the world that Arab, Egyptian women are capable of competing at the highest level, of being great athletes,” the two-time Olympian told Sport360.
“Hopefully we can use this platform to show the world that we’re capable of competing in sports. So we’re defying the odds and hopefully we will inspire and encourage other young female Arab, Egyptian athletes to pursue their dreams and achieve their goals. So hopefully we are good role models for them.”
El Sherbini has been at the top of the squash world rankings for the past 20 consecutive months, and has been making history for Egypt in the sport — winning the British Open, the World Championship and a slew of other prestigious titles.
Happy and proud to win the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Creative Sports Award as best Arab Athlete Thank you United Arab of Emirates and everyone who voted and chosen me for this award also Congratulations to Farida Osman for winning the Sports Achievement of the year. pic.twitter.com/bzzmLvMDRf
— Nour el Sherbini (@noursherbini) November 28, 2017
Osman, who has smashed multiple records during her time swimming for UC Berkeley in the NCAA, is back in the United States, pursuing a Masters degree and continuing with her career in the pool, keeping an eye on Tokyo 2020.
She says she’s far from done with the sport and that getting recognised for her swimming is a big motivation to keep going.
“This award means so much to me because it represents what I’ve been working hard for, all my training, all these years, so having to be able to get recognised and acknowledged after all this hard work and this really hard journey is just an amazing feeling. And getting recognised in general, this is what helps athletes to keep going and keep pursuing what they want to achieve,” added Osman.
The MBR Creative Sports Award is not just of great prestige, but it also comes with a significant monetary value, that can help sustain Osman’s career.
“Honestly money wasn’t really my drive to continue swimming or to perform well,” she admits. “I always try to believe and know that I only swim for myself and all these achievements are to me personally, not for the money. Of course money kind of gives you motivation but it’s not the number one driving force. I feel like my number one driving force is just me achieving my goals. And having money on the side is like a bonus.”
FULL LIST OF MBR CREATIVE SPORTS AWARD WINNERS
UAE Sports Personality Award: HE Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan (UAE)
Arab Sports Personality Award: HRH Princess Rima bint Bandar bin Sultan Al Saud (KSA)
UAE Outstanding Athlete Award: Omar Abdul Rahman Al AMoodi (Football)
UAE Referee Award: Ebrahim Yousef Al Mansoori (Beach Soccer)
UAE Coach Award: Saeed Bin Suroor Al Khaldi (Horse Racing)
UAE Organisation Award: UAE Jiu Jitsu Federation
Arab Outstanding Athlete Award: Nour Atef El Sherbini (Egypt – Squash)
Arab Administrator Award: Dr. Ibrahim Mohammed Al Gannas (KSA)
Arab Referee Award: Tarek Bin Mohamed Souei (Tunisia)
Arab Coach Award: Faris Ibrahim Al Assaf (Jordan)
Arab Team Award: Iraqi Youth Football Team U16
International Organisation Award (Association of Summer Olympic International Federations): Union Cycliste International (UCI)
International Organisation Award (Association of IOC Recognised International Sports Federations): International Cricket Council (ICC)
UAE Emerging Athlete Award (Nominees – voting to continue until December 31)
1. Hussain Yousuf Anwar (Football)
2. Ammar Mohammed Al Sedrani (Chess)
3. Maitha Abdulla Hasan (Judo)
4. Wadima Saeed Abdulla (Jiu Jitsu)
5. Omar Mohammed Alwan (Jiu Jitsu)
6. Abdalla Guhloom Al Maazimi (Taekwondo)
Arab Emerging Athlete Award: Mohammed Mustafa Al Sowaiq (KSA – Taekwondo)
Distinguished Athletes Achievement Sports Award: Farida Hisham Osman (Egypt – Swimming)
Difficult Challenges Award (People of Determination Category)
1. Abdellatif Baka (Algeria – Athletics)
2. Fouad Baka (Algeria – Athletics)
Olympic Creative Sports Award
1. Mohammed Gammoudi (Tunisia – Athletics)
2. Hicham El Guerrouj (Morocco – Athletics)
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