Karate champion becomes Egypt's first-ever female Olympic gold medalist

Karate champion becomes Egypt's first-ever female Olympic gold medalist
Feryal Abdelaziz, a 22-year old pharmacy student and karate champion, became the first Egyptian female athlete to win a gold medal in an Olympic competition on Saturday.
2 min read
08 August, 2021
Feryal Abdelaziz won a gold medal in the Women’s Karate Kumite +61kg at the Tokyo Olympics [Getty]

Feryal Abdelaziz made history by becoming the first Egyptian woman ever to win an Olympic gold medal on Saturday, when she defeated the world champion from Azerbaijan in the women’s karate "kumite" +61kg category.

Abdelaziz won 2-0 in the final against Irina Zaretska, becoming the first Egyptian woman to win a gold and the eighth athlete in the nation's history to land first place in an Olympic competition.

The 22-year-old won Egypt's first gold since 2004, when Karam Gaber won the gold medal in Greco-Roman wrestling.

In a video posted online, Abdelaziz’s family is seen erupting in joyous celebration as she secured the historic win.

Karate was one of four new sports added to the Olympic program specifically for 2020, rather than as a permanent sport.

“I hope people will change their mind, and karate will be included in the next Olympic Games,” Abdelaziz said.

“There are millions of people around the world who practice karate, and I think it really deserves to be included. We’ve shown these at Games how beautiful it is, and we’ve demonstrated the strength of our competition. I think we deserve a future in the Olympics.”

Abdelaziz, who is currently studying to become a pharmacist, started training in karate in Cairo at the age of seven.

In an interview with beIN sports, Abdelaziz praised her family for their support. “Thank you, mum, it’s your achievement, not mine,” she said.

Tokyo 2020 has been Egypt’s most successful participation in the Olympic Games. Egyptian athletes won six medals, one gold, one silver and four bronze.

Abdelaziz’s victory comes a day after another female Egyptian athlete, Giana Farouk, 26, secured Egypt’s fourth medal at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics in the women’s karate “kumite” -61kg event by landing third place.