Nagwa Ghorab Sets the Pace
We love what our new generation of Egyptian swimmers has been managing these days, but let’s also give our total respect and admiration to an amazing Egyptian swimmer who has been keeping Egypt in the spotlight for decades. Vivacious, sun-kissed and looking nowhere near her years, Nagwa Ghorab shares her journey with Cairo West Magazine.
CWM: Nagwa, when and where did you first start swimming?
NG: I was born in 1943 so I am now 73 years old. I started swimming when I was four years old. At the time we lived in Heliopolis, and had to make the journey to swim near the Opera House Club because the Heliopolis Sporting Club was only for foreigners in those days.
How often did you practise?
I adore swimming, and when Heliopolis Sporting Club near our home started accepting Egyptians I did my training there every day. The trainers predicted that through my special style I would one day become a backstroke champion. I stopped swimming after marriage to give my time to family life, raising children and work. I started again after retiring to realize my dream, even with the passing of the years the champion spirit was strong and alive … waiting to start again! I went back to swimming every day for about two hours, and I was lucky and relieved to have maintained my fitness.
When did you start entering competitions?In my youth I was an Egyptian champion with very high records, then went back to competing when I was 64 years old.
What do you enjoy most about swimming?
Oh my dear, the feel of the water is magnificent. When I came back to swimming I wanted to realize my dream to compete with foreigners. It is great to gauge your own abilities by competing with other strong swimmers. When competing in Europe I would immediately check the screen when I touched the end, the elation of doing well was unmatchable. Being a champion was something instilled in my very being.
Do you still swim regularly?
Yes, my life is geared around swimming. Five days a week I start with a training swim of around 2 km, followed by about two hours of very organized training. I take a break of two days every week to relax my muscles.
How many countries have you visited and competed in?
First Turkey, then Sweden, France, Italy, Austria, Germany, Canada, Russia and recently the USA. The national competitions are always the most important though; there you gain the title of champion. In foreign countries you receive the title of winner.
What medals have you won?
Each time I competed in France I collected three medals, for second and third place, and valuable medals from world championship in Montreal, Canada 2014. In Russia in 2015 I won five medals and was rated third in the world. When I competed in the USA national championship this year I won three medals, one of them for second place in 50 yards backstroke with a time of 48.60 seconds. Medals were also awarded for my 5th and 6th placing in the 100 yards backstroke and 50 yard freestyle.
Is swimming a sport that everyone can benefit from, and how?
Yes sure. A swimmer can practice at any age because the water supports him or her. In world championships I meet all ages, even 90 years old and more.
How do you see the prospects for Egyptian women in sport?
I strongly believe that Egyptian women in sport are on a level to compete with the whole world… God bless Egypt!