Meet Ayah Eissa, Coach of the Egyptian Armed Forces Tent Pegging Team

November 7, 2020
By: Alexandra Kinias

Distinguished national and international tent pegging champion, Ayah Eissa is also a gold badge referee. In addition, she is also the only international certified tent pegging coach in Egypt, and the coach of the Egyptian armed forces tent pegging team.

Eissa won the national women’s championship four consecutive years (2009-2013), and in 2018 and 2019. She also received Best Coach Award in 2019. In addition, she participated in the World Championship in Abu Dhabi 2018, and won third place at the Oman Beach Championship 2018.

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 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.

The sport was introduced in Egypt during the 2009 Sharkia Arabian Horses Festival. Eissa, at the age of 16 then, participated in the festival, first Egyptian female to join the festival and the game. She won first place and a year later, she won Egypt’s cup.

Eissa 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.

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 both the seniors’ and juniors’ categories.

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