The Egyptian Olympic Committee have helped organise a special event for the country's leading athletes in Cairo ©EOC

International Gymnastics Federation President Morinari Watanabe was among the leading names to attend an event organised by the Egyptian Olympic Committee (EOC) in Cairo.

He took part in the Egypt Athletes Forum at the American University and attended by the country’s leading competitors, including Olympic modern pentathlon silver medallist Ahmed El-Gendy.

The Forum, organised by the EOC in association with Egypt’s Ministry of Youth and Sport, included session on the role of the state in supporting champions and preparing athletes.

Watanabe, a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), attended the session along with EOC President Hisham Hatab and Mahmoud Hussein, chairman of the Youth Committee in the Egyptian Parliament.

It was moderated by Sherif El-Erian, secretary general of the EOC and President of the Egyptian Modern Pentathlon Federation.

The Forum also included a session entitled “What Athletes Need" in the presence of El-Gendy, still basking in the glory of his performance at Tokyo 2020.

Sherif Othman, a three-time Paralympic Games powerlifting gold medallist, Sandrine Billet, a Belgian-born naturalised Cape Verdean judoka, and mental health specialist Dr Hind Issa also took part in the session.

A third session was entitled "Heroes' Safety and Mental Health" and included former swimmer Rania Elwani, an ex-member of the IOC Athletes’ Commission, who represented Egypt at three Olympic Games.

Egypt's two-time World Championship bronze medal-winning swimmer Farida Othman was among those to take part in the Forum ©EOC
Egypt's two-time World Championship bronze medal-winning swimmer Farida Othman was among those to take part in the Forum ©EOC

Another session was dedicated to "Empowering Women in Sports" and included world Farida Othman, another Egyptian swimmer, who won two bronze medals in the 50 metres butterfly at the 2017 and 2019 World Championships.

"When the EOC was approached by the organisers with this idea, we found it a brilliant idea, for us as officials and for the athletes as well," El-Erian said.

"It was a great gathering, where athletes, coaches, officials and media all met to discuss their challenges and find solutions. 

"The athletes responded to come and speak and share their struggles and challenges because they needed to, and it was our role as officials to listen to their voices. 

"This is why we designated a whole session on ‘What Athletes Need’?

"Apart from other necessities, their biggest need was hearing them and giving them the opportunity to open up with their officials. 

"Now we, as officials, know what they need, and will be working together to find solutions that would fulfill their needs,"