Egyptian Girls Galloping Off Into A New Sport

Saturday September 17, 2017
By: WOE Staff

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Tent Pegging is an equestrian game that requires the rider to pierce and pick a target off the ground with a sword or a lance while charging at it. The sport is played in many countries around the world, Egypt included. Because the sport is not popular in the country, many people are unaware that Egypt has a national team, not to mention that its coach Ayah Eissa is the youngest certified female tent pegging coach in the world.

Tent Pegging is believed to have originated in India. Soldiers on horsebacks charged through enemy camps, removing the tent pegs with their swords, causing the tents to collapse and creating confusion and chaos.

In today’s competitions, riders are awarded points for the targets they pick, depending on several rules of the game. The rider with most number of points wins.

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Ayah Hassan

The sport started in Egypt during the Sharkia Arabian Horses Festival in 2009. Ayah Eissa, at the age of 16 then, was the first Egyptian female to join the festival and the game. She won first place.

Ayah, graduated from the Arab Academy for Science and Technology, Department of Mass Communication in 2017. She started horseback riding lessons when she was 6 years-old and learned tent pegging at a very young age. She won the women’s championship 4 times in a row from 2009 to 2013.

 

 

As the game gained popularity, the armed forces started a civilian team for women. And as of 2014, members under the age of 18 were allowed to join, in the junior team. Prior to that the sport was confined between the armed forces and the police forces teams.

When Aya first joined the team, it was divided into men and women categories. With the new amendments to the International law of Tent Pegging in 2015, the teams are no longer divided according to gender, but age groups; Senior for above 18 years and junior under 18.

Since the new law came in effect, Egyptian women won ranks among men in the seniors’ category. Also for the juniors’ category, the first place went to Farrah Hassan, one of the most talented riders in the armed forces team.

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Farah Hassan

Twenty years old Farrah is a student of Mass Communication at the Arab Academy of Science and technology. She started horseback riding at the age of 4 and joined the equestrian team at a young age. In 2010, at the age of 13, and with the support of her family and friends, she joined the tent pegging team. She was awarded at the Sharkia Festival as the youngest female to participate in the game in Egypt. And until today is the youngest member of the team.

 

 

She won the Egyptian Women Championship and Egypt Cup for women in 2015. She was the second girl to beat the male team members to the first place, after the amendment of the international law of the game, that allowed women to join the men’s competitions.

Both Aya and Farrah participated in two international competitions, in Oman and South Africa.

For more about Tent Pegging in Egypt, visit their Facebook page

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