Road to Tokyo: Haydy Morsy (EGY) keeps sight of Olympic medal dream during hiatus
Haydy Morsy had only just turned 14 when, at the qualification competition for African athletes in Abidjan (CIV) in November 2013, she earned the right to compete at the 2014 Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing (CHN) – where she finished 7th.
Now 21, it feels like Morsy has been on the scene for a long time. The sight of her smile has been a common sight on podiums at the UIPM Under 19 World Championships (five medals from 2015-2017) and increasingly on the UIPM Pentathlon World Cup circuit (four Mixed Relay medals since 2015).
In 2018, in her home capital city of Cairo (EGY), she became a senior world champion for the first time, winning gold in the Mixed Relay alongside Ahmed Elgendy (EGY).
And now she is preparing for her second senior Olympic Games, having left nothing to chance by becoming women’s individual African champion for the second time.
Q: How did it feel in 2019 when you became African champion and secured a qualification place for the Tokyo Olympics?
A: I was extremely happy and grateful as the African Championship was the first competition in the season of 2019. Especially because I was the first athlete to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games after a tough year full of challenges in 2018.
Q: How would you describe your first Olympic experience in Rio in 2016?
A: I was 16 years old and the youngest athlete in the Modern Pentathlon team representing Egypt in Rio 2016. This was my first Summer Olympic Games after competing in the Youth Olympic Games Nanjing 2014. I was overwhelmed with all these big events, but I’m very proud of the experiences I gained.
Q: If selected to represent Egypt at Tokyo 2020, will you do anything differently this time?
A: Four years of training after competing in Rio 2016 Olympic Games, of course I acquired more experience, I became mentally more stable and physically stronger, so I hope in 2021 I will achieve more for my country and myself.
Q: What are your thoughts on the Olympics being postponed until 2021?
A: I have to see the positive side of it, which is having more time to work on myself and the weaknesses that I might have.
Q: How have you been keeping up your physical and mental health during the Coronavirus crisis?
A: Coronavirus is a major issue for the whole world nowadays, so our safety is the first priority. Also, I am trying to do my best to stay fit with doing some exercises at home, running around the compound, and some online workouts with my coaches.
Q: What has been the most challenging part?
A: The most challenging part for me is that some training I cannot continue at home, like Swimming and Fencing, so it has now been about a month and half without practising them.
Q: And what positive things have you seen?
A: The positive outcome is that I have more time now to do things besides sports that I wanted to try before. Also I have more time to spend with my family and share some memories.
Q: When, and why, did you take up the Modern Pentathlon?
A: In summer 2009 I wanted to do sports, I started with swimming and then I came across Modern Pentathlon, so I decided to try it and see if I wanted to pursue it or continue with swimming. After the first national competition, when I was only eight, I got the 4th place in duathlon and then I decided to continue in Modern Pentathlon and achieve more.
Q: What motivates you in training?
A: My motivation is that I’m so passionate about being the best version of myself and challenging my body and seeing the most I can do. Also, my dream is to get an Olympic medal for my country before retiring.
Q: Describe yourself as an athlete in three words.
A: Passionate. Decisive. Hard-working.
Q: Who are your role models in sport, and in life?
A: In sports and in life it is Serena Williams. Because of what she achieved in her tennis career and also being a successful mother, wife and athlete.
Q: What is your ultimate ambition in Modern Pentathlon?
A: My ultimate ambition in Modern Pentathlon is to win an Olympic medal, and to see my country’s flag being raised in front of the world.