Passionate about trying out different sports such as football, tennis, and ice hockey, Yasmina Eissa instantly got hooked up with para badminton since she first learned about it in school. When she realized her talent with using the racquet, she decided to start practicing outside school to compete with more people. Fortunately, she found her place with badminton champion and captain Hadia Hosny at her academy in Heliopolis Sporting Club, El Sherouk City where she launched her journey with para badminton. We’ve met with the inspiring sixteen-year-old to share with us her story.
What do you think of the para badminton sport, and its future in Egypt?
Badminton in Egypt is not really known like other sports. We try to work on spreading it as much as we can. But what I love about it here is that we have different teams to accommodate everyone. We have the regular teams, para for the differently-abled, and special for the mentally-challenged.
How did you feel when you won the gold medal at the African Championship?
I was thrilled. I had absolutely no idea who I’m competing with, so I felt great when I won. It was my first gold model. In Africa, I won the first place, the third in Spain, and the fifth at the Para-badminton World Championships in Ulsan, Korea.
What are the most challenging aspects of your sport?
It needs high speed, focus and attention. It’s the fastest racquet sport.
What do you love the most about yourself? And how do you think it affects you?
The thing I love the most about myself is that I constantly try different things. I love challenging myself. Some people would tell you they’d stick to just one sport, but I can play ten different ones at the same time and be happy.
Do you have any advice you learned and want to pass on to the differently-abled?
My advice would be not to care about anything since you love what you’re doing. Never let anyone stop you. I love this sport and nothing can stop me from doing it.
Do you think that the sports field in Egypt is inclusive enough? What would you want to change?
Sports in Egypt is very one-sided. People always look at football only, and rarely give importance to other sports too, either generally or for the differently-abled. People should start giving their attention to other sports too. We have a lot of good people in various sports. Recently, the special olympics teams were in Abu Dhabi and won a lot of awards, but they did not get the proper attention or propaganda.
Who’s your ultimate idol?
In sports, I would say my captain Hadia Hosny for teaching me a lot and helping me launch my athletic career. On the personal level, I look up to my grandpa because he always inspires and encourages me to give more.
What’s your ultimate future dream?
In the near future, I’d like to achieve something at the World Championship in Switzerland, and the Paralympics 2024 in paris. For the long term, I’m still not sure, but if this sport followed the same path it’s taking nowadays, I will not be able to pursue it professionally. It would be very hard to make a profit out of it. Even my captain works and practices the sport on the side, simply because people are not giving it enough attention.
What comes to your mind when you hear the phrase “Banat el ayam di”?
“Banat el ayam di” are often generalized into just one category, which is not the case. There are a lot of different types of girls: the athletes, the nerds, and more. So it’s totally inaccurate to generalize them into just one category.