Updates on Egyptian Olympians

With all the recent activity among the oldest Olympians, we have once again fallen behind in our blogging. Thus we wanted to start catching up with our entries by revealing the latest research we have been doing. Over the past week and a half, we have obtained temporary access to the archives of Egypt’s most important newspaper, Al-Ahram (The Pyramids). This access allows for text searching that, while not perfect, has allowed us to uncover plenty of information on Egyptian Olympians that we hope to share in the coming weeks.

(Jwani Riad Noseir’s obituary)

During the course of our research, we were able to uncover at least two more Egyptian nonagenarians, albeit neither of whom lived as long as the current oldest Egyptian Olympian, Mohamed Selim Zaki. The first was Jwani Riad Nossier, born February 6, 1913, who represented his country in the basketball tournament at the 1936 Berlin Games, where Egypt was eliminated by Uruguay in round two. He later served as an international referee and in the administration of the sport, most notably as the General Secretary for the Cairo Regional Basketball Association. He died in Cairo on February 16, 2005, making him 92 years and 10 days old at the time of his death.

(Mohamed Mohamed Habib)

Our other entry brings in a small element of mystery that we like to introduce into these blog posts. Mohamed Mohamed Habib was also a basketball player, but his tenure was with the Egyptian Army, where he was also an officer. Habib attended the Olympics in 1948, where Egypt placed 19th overall in the tournament. Already in his 30s by then, he turned to coaching after the Games and worked with the Egyptian military for his entire career. According to an obituary placed by the Egyptian Basketball Federation, he died in December 2007.

(Obituaries for Habib and Moawad)

According to passenger shipping lists during his time as coach, Habib was born in either 1913 or 1914, which would make him a nonagenarian when he died and potentially among the longest-living Egyptian Olympians. Research by historian and former Olympian George Masin suggests that he may have been born on November 11, 1914 in Alexandria.

Right beneath Habib’s obituary is another one for a different 1948 player: Hassan Moawad.  Moawad was on the squad that won a bronze medal at the 1947 European Championships (EuroBasket) and played domestically for Al-Ahly. Unfortunately, we do not know much more about him than that, although he did seem to have a career in higher education, and we remain unaware of how old he might have been when he died.

(Obituaries for Sayed Nosseir and Ibrahim Orabi)

Finally, as an update to one of our earliest blog posts, we were able to locate the obituary for Sayed Nosseir, Egypt’s first Olympic champion, who won gold in light-heavyweight weightlifting at the 1928 Amsterdam Games. He has been noted with multiple different days and years of death, but his obituary on the front page of the November 29, 1974 edition of Al-Ahram proves that he died on November 28, 1974. We also learned that another Egyptian medalist, Ibrahim Orabi, who won bronze in light-heavyweight Greco-Roman wrestling in 1948, died July 2, 1957 in Alexandria.

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