‘Egypt only lacks one out of three S’s to make beach volleyball work’
The 36-year old Atta competed at the Chennai Challenger and The Hague Open in 2010 and still plays on the national tour, but is also coach of all the national teams in Egypt. This week he coaches Mohamed Abdelhady and Mohamed Sayedin at the FIVB Beach Volleyball U21 World Championships in Cyprus.
It is only the second time that Egypt has taken part in the U21 World Champs, having played in Umag in 2013. In Croatia his team Farag/Fayed did not pass the pool. First timers Abdelhady and Sayedin hope to do better in Larnaka, but lost both their pool matches on Thursday.
Coach Atta works with approximately 40 men. Most of them play indoors in the Egyptian Volleyball League and switch to beach volleyball in the summer. Atta would like that to change. “I want my teams to play in all major beach volleyball tournaments worldwide throughout the year. For example, we should go to Australia during our winter.”
But the big problem is still the third S. Beach volleyball in Egypt needs further development, but due to lack of funds and sponsorships coaches find it extremely difficult to attract new talent.
“Let us not forget that in Egypt the most popular sports are football and basketball. Military service is also another obstacle. Media coverage for beach volleyball in Egypt is non-existent”, says Atta.
In Larnaka Atta keeps his eyes open and talks to the organizers a lot. “Lack of funds is so detrimental in our efforts to organise such an event, and this is something we have to learn from our Cypriot friends, having staged two World Champs in the last three years.”
Atta is hopeful to find funding for his beach volleyball dreams in the next few years. “Things are starting to get better as far as the political situation in Egypt is concerned. It has a positive effect on the people and companies, as they now see light at the end of the tunnel and are not afraid in investing in sport in general.”
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