“A healthy mind in a healthy body” is a proverb used in sporting and educational contexts to denote that physical exercise is an important activity, mentally and psychologically. That is a reason why there was an interest in sports events in Ancient Egypt.
The Ancient Egyptians knew most of the sports being practiced to date in most of the countries in the world. They also held some of the sports events locally, in addition to hosting other sports competitions and sports persons from various countries in the world were invited.
The Pyramids inscriptions show that there were two main physical sports; an easy one practiced to maintain fitness and joy, and the other needed effort and stamina.
The Ancient Egyptians were familiar with wrestling, weight lifting, jumping, running, swimming, kayaking and handball; Egypt led in almost every sport.
Egypt was the first country in the world to host Olympic Games. In 2000 B.C., the Ancient Egyptians organized some international competition. King Ramses I was the first person to host such games.
Beni Hasan Cemeteries
In Beni Hasan Cemeteries and in the tomb of Amenhotep the ruler of the sixth region in Upper Egypt, there are various inscriptions of Egyptian sports people wrestling, fencing, weight lifting, gymnastic, boxing and running.
There are some inscriptions of an Egyptian exercising with a foreign competitor. The inscription shows the spirit of true competition in various sports events internationally.
It was one of the sports competitions that Ancient Egyptians were interested in. Some sports people from the
army took part in such competitions. In the New Kingdom, the rules of wrestling were inscribed.
The Ancient Egyptians excelled in use of arms throughout their history. Competitors used wood sticks and their inscriptions show that they practiced it in a way close to modern fencing.
It is the oldest sport that depends on the physical strength between the competitors who were carrying bags of various weights full of sand. The competitors used to carry the weight in one hand.
It was considered the most famous sport as it depended on speed. It was practiced by both men and women.
Ball played by Girls:
Girls used to play ball also in ancient Egypt. One girl would carry her partner and the girl on top received the ball and carry it from one side to the other in the playground.
Ball played by Girls
It was practiced mainly by archers in armies as some targets are chosen and competitors target them. The winners were decided by the different number of targets.
Some of the most famous sports in Ancient Egypt was bird hunting. It was practiced by noblemen and esteemed persons as crooks were used to hunt birds. The sports men used to throw the crooks using their hands.
It was almost the same sport practiced today as a number of strong players hold the kayak and the leader sits close to the rudder and he keeps instructing his players.
Contributed by: Ashraf Ibrahim