Rowing to Success | Meet Emma Banani: Founder of Egypt’s First National Beach Rowing Team

November 25, 2023

Emma Banani, the Founder and Technical Director of Egypt’s First National Beach Rowing Team, is a trailblazing figure, holding the distinction of being the first woman to assume this role. Having started her sports career as a rowing athlete, Emma competed for Egypt for over 14 years, achieving notable rankings at both national and Arab levels. In 2018, she decided to transition to coaching, dedicating her efforts to establishing beach rowing in Egypt.

Emma successfully founded Egypt’s first-ever national beach rowing team, leading them to victory in four regional and three world championships, including the recent World Championship in Barletta, Italy, where she earned a bronze medal in beach rowing. Beyond her coaching role, Banani is a leader striving to spread the spirit of beach rowing worldwide. As one of 20 coaches globally, she contributes to the development and promotion of this sport, fostering love and dedication for it.

Recognizing her exceptional leadership, Emma was chosen for the Women World Leadership Program by World Rowing and the International Olympic Committee, after a nomination by the Egypt Rowing Federation in 2018. The program, spanning two years in the UK with part of it conducted online, included 33 women from various sports worldwide, with only three from the sport of rowing. Emma successfully completed this program, showcasing her dedication and leadership prowess.

Emma’s influence extends beyond coaching and leading the national team; she chaired the Coastal Rowing Committee of the Egyptian Rowing Federation (ERF) and became the pioneering woman to spearhead coastal rowing in Egypt. When the ERF introduced coastal rowing in New Alamein City in 2018, Emma coached the Egypt national team of coastal rowing. This sport, Beach Sprint Rowing, has been added as an Olympic sport set to take effect in 2028.

Under Emma’s volunteer efforts, the Egyptian Coastal National Team achieved excellent results, collecting numerous medals at the Arab, African, and World Rowing Championships. Notably, she achieved 6th and 9th place in the Coastal Rowing World Championships in Portugal in 2021 and the UK in 2022, respectively. In September 2023, Emma coached her team to win a bronze medal for under 19 years with Omar ElKomaty and secure a 4th place for Hana ElSobki, along with an excellent performance from the rest of the team.

Emma Banani’s s journey is marked by not just personal accomplishments but also significant contributions to the development and global recognition of beach rowing, making her a remarkable leader in the field. Additionally, she participated in Saudi Arabia’s inaugural beach rowing championship, earning recognition from the Saudi Rowing Federation for her technical support, organizational contributions, supervision of the championship, and her coaching sessions for trainers. Her dedication and leadership make her an exceptional figure in the field of beach rowing.

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