Paris 2024: Egypt's swimmer Kahil sets exclusive training plan for Paris and beyond

Egypt's Para swimming star Kahil targets a podium finish at the Paris 2024 Paralympics after a successful 2023 04 Jun 2024
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A male Para swimmer competes
Kahil competed in three medal events in his Paralympic debut at Tokyo 2020.
ⒸBuda Mendes/Getty Images
By AMP Media | For IPC

In 2018, Para swimmer Zeyad Kahil set himself a number of goals. First was competing at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games – box ticked. 

Then came the Manchester 2023 Para Swimming World Championships, again box ticked. The Egyptian athlete reached the final of the men’s 200m freestyle S5 and 100m breaststroke SB4 and set African records in both events. 

Now the agenda is the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games, where he aims to earn a bronze medal. And his goal after that is to win a gold medal at LA 2028. 

Kahil wants to win a gold medal at LA 28. @Joel Marklund/ OIS

 

Training for Paris 2024

Kahil is following his strict training regime and paying close attention to his coaches.  

“I’m on a daily training program, six days of swimming with the national team. Three of those days include private fitness sessions after my swimming to enhance my stroke,” Kahil said. “Then there are my recovery sessions once or twice a month to get rid of all the heavy load.” 

Kahil takes part in a daily open swimming camp with other Para swimmers from Egypt. Then, he says, he “gets back to his normal life”. 

Kahil trains with the national team six days a week. @Christopher Jue/Getty Images

He has recently graduated in business management and has interviews to fit in around his swimming schedule. 

“Most professional athletes consider their sport as a job, doing what they love. I believe I have a lot more to discover so I decided to go through the professional business life and fetch more experience beside my athletic life but just try my best to maintain both,” Kahil said.  

“Swimming depends on mind training so most probably every swimmer has a stable, typical day. It just varies from what additional activities every athlete needs for his own unique body.” 

 

Hard work, perseverance and dedication 

Kahil is working with the national team’s resources which enables him to work with coach Amr Abouldahab. 

“I usually have confidence in my coach preparing the daily programme. I just give myself an inner subconscious order that as long as I have a lane every day and a monitor, then I have a huge chance to get better,” Kahil said. 

“And I can’t just wait for external motivation to push me forward. Success is all about hard work, perseverance, and dedication, which is basically a decision a person makes to reach anything.”  

Kahil thanks his coaches for helping him succeed in Para swimming. @Buda Mendes/Getty Images

Kahil thanks childhood coach Hassan Baioumi for spotting his talent and helping him win his first bronze national medal. Then came coach Waleed Gamal, who taught the swimming basics and speed tricks that made him break the minimum qualification standard and join the Egyptian Para swimming national team. 

Coach Shereef Habib and coach Ayman Elgendy focused on very tiny details that made him not only qualify for his first World Cup but also for Tokyo 2020.  

“Since there are many different aspects of swimming and additional activities required to develop myself, I always do a side plan for myself as it’s part of my to-do commitments,” Kahil said. 

“I can’t stand still waiting for my team to do everything for my own benefit, sometimes you should sort it out. My fitness, my recovery, my mental coach.”

Kahil says success is "all about hard work, perseverance, and dedication". @Christopher Jue/Getty Images

 

Shining in the City of Light

The 23-year-old swimmer, who was born with a spinal cord condition, credits his parents for helping him achieve success in the sport.  

“I never perceived [disability] as an obstacle, my parents stitched in me how to be fully responsible for myself which helped me a lot to commit to my sport and conquer it all the way. 

“Even if I missed exciting stuff in my childhood due to my impairment, at the same time it wouldn’t have made me feel I want to overcome this missing feeling and do sports as compensation.” 

Kahil’s favourite event is 200m freestyle, while he says he is more likely to succeed at 100m breaststroke. 

“I’ve been adding seconds in the last three championships but it’s [200m freestyle] still my favourite. It won’t stop me although I guess the 100m breaststroke is the one that will bring me some success,” Kahil said.  

Kahil, who was born with a spinal cord condition, says he has "never perceived disability as an obstacle". @Christopher Jue/Getty Images

As he notches up the lengths in the pool, Kahil thinks back to Tokyo 2020 and ahead to LA 2028.  His inspiration is drawn by what happened in a fulfilling 2023. 

There was the World Championships in Manchester, a world series finale in Cairo – the first African city to host the competition - and a first open water experience in Italy. 

“Manchester 2023 was another milestone placing eighth for my first time in both the 100m breaststroke and 200m freestyle. I used to be placed in the reserve section and now I was qualified straight to the finals,” said Kahil.

“Sardinia was one of a kind, my first Para swimming open water championship. It just needed a different nutrition plan to load your body with power.” 

Kahil competed at the World Championships in Manchester during a fulfilling 2023. @Alex Livesey/Getty Images

“We are always keen to compete as many times as possible throughout the year to get used to standing on the blocks,” he said.

 

Book your tickets for the Paralympic Games by visiting the Paris 2024 ticketing website.