VIDEO SHOWS: MEMBERS OF AN EGYPTIAN ICE-HOCKEY TEAM PLAYING ON THE ICE / SOUNDBITES WITH PLAYER ABOUT ICE HOCKEY AS A SPORT IN EGYPT
SENDING WITH COMPLETE SCRIPT
SHOWS: CAIRO, EGYPT (SEPTEMBER 4, 2020) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL)
1. HOCKEY PLAYERS ON ICE RINK AT MALL
2. HOCKEY PLAYERS SKATING IN RINK
3. VARIOUS OF ICE HOCKEY PLAYERS PUTTING ON SKATING OUTFIT
4. PLAYER TYING SKATE LACES
5. HOCKEY PLAYERS ON ICE RINK
6. (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) PLAYER IN EGYPTIAN ICE HOCKEY TEAM, MAHMOUD GHONEIM, SAYING:
"It (ice hockey) is not known in Egypt because for Egyptians, football is the main popular sport. The idea of also playing a sport on ice (is something strange), people always tie it to the weather. It is a piece of information (that is false). People wonder how we play this sport in a country that is mainly desert. But this has nothing to do with it. Many Arab countries now have leagues and federations that participate in championships. That is something we need to change in people's culture, to tell them that any sport can be played in Egypt, and that it doesn't have to be related to the country's climate."
7. VARIOUS OF HOCKEY PLAYERS PLAYING ON ICE RINK
8. TOP SHOT OF PLAYERS ON RINK
9. (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) ICE HOCKEY PLAYER, AYMAN ABDALLAH, SAYING:
"I am originally an ice-skating coach. When it came to a point where there was nothing more I could do with ice-skating as I grew older - I know all the moves and what not - I tried to turn it into a sport as opposed to something that is just for fun."
10. SKATERS ON RINK
11. HOCKEY PLAYER'S SHIRT
12. PLAYER ON RINK
13. (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) ICE HOCKEY PLAYER, AYMAN ABDALLAH, SAYING:
"There are no resources, we pay from our own pockets to rent a rink. The cost is too much. There are also uniforms, the cost is very high, adding taxes and what not. So not everyone can pay this much. Only those who are capable continue to play."
14. VARIOUS OF ICE HOCKEY GAME IN PROGRESS
15. TOP SHOT OF PLAYERS ON RINK
16. PLAYERS ON RINK
17. (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) ICE HOCKEY PLAYER, IBRAHIM MOHAMED, SAYING:
"As a sport it is much bigger (abroad), where I used to play. There was ice all the time, summer and winter. It is popular abroad. So when I came here I was surprised."
18. PLAYERS SKATING ON RINK
19. ICE HOCKEY TEAM POSING FOR PHOTO
20. SHIRT LOGO READING (English): "Egypt Ice Hockey"
21. PLAYERS SKATING ON RINK
STORY: In Egypt, the idea of having a national ice hockey team seems ludicrous to many - except for a handful of skaters seeking domestic and international recognition for their team.
Player and one of the leaders of Egypt Ice Hockey team, 32-year-old Mahmoud Ghoneim is one of 20 skilled players hoping to bring hockey to Egypt's largely warm climate, following in the footsteps of other Arab countries taking similar initiatives.
"People wonder how we play this sport in a country that is mainly desert," said Ghoneim, standing in an ice rink in Cairo's Nasr City that he rents with his team for practice. "But this has nothing to do with it. Many Arab countries now have leagues and federations that participate in championships."
An increasingly popular sport in the Middle East, ice hockey is practised in several Arab countries that have teams registered with the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF), a dream that is yet to come true for Egypt Ice Hockey.
The latest Middle Eastern countries to join the IIHF were Algeria, Lebanon, and Iran - all of which joined in 2019, bringing the total number of IIHF member national associations to 81.
Despite its perseverance, Egypt's hockey team faces many challenges that stand in the way of recognition.
With the lack of ice rinks in sports clubs and the high cost of equipment, few players practice the winter sport in Egypt.
The players pay for their own uniforms and equipment, and practice on an ice rink that is a quarter of the size of a standard Olympics rink.
Egypt Ice Hockey have played a total of three tournaments since they founded their team in 2015. They have played in Morocco, the UAE and Kuwait.
The ambitious team is in close contact with Egypt's ministry of youth and sports, in a bid to help them establish a national federation that can then compete internationally in the upcoming winter Olympics.
For now, the players have to make do with their passion for the sport.
(Production: Sherif Fahmy, Nadeen Ebrahim)