CAIRO (Reuters) – Not content with having been part of the fastest ever team to cycle across Europe, Egyptian endurance athlete Helmy Elsaeed is turning his attention to a challenge closer to home – and then potentially the Winter Olympics.
In June, Elsaeed and four Swedish cyclists took 12 hours off the previous record time to complete the 6000km journey from northern Russia to western Portugal, raising money for autism charities along the way.
“We took the bicycles and rode them every day for 29 days until we reached the most western point in Europe which is Cabo de Roca in Portugal,” said Elsaeed, talking about a journey through Belarus, Poland, Czech Republic, Germany, France and Spain, which lasted 29 days, five hours and 25 minutes.
And the former finance worker turned athlete already has his next challenge in mind.
“Me and my friends, who are involved in running and adventure, are planning to cross the whole of Egypt on foot from the most northern point to the most southern point,” he said.
One of Elsaeed’s most memorable achievements so far was when he cross-country skied across the Arctic in 2012. He now hopes to persuade the Egyptian authorities to let him represent the country in the sport at the Winter Olympics.
If he is successful, it would be only the second time Egypt has appeared at the Winter Games, having previously sent an alpine skier to the 1984 Olympics in Sarajevo.
(Reporting by Mostafa Salem. Editing by Patrick Johnston and Julian Shea)