Farrag staying focused on target
Spectator and Spectrum are here throughout the next two weeks to bring you updates and interviews from Columbia Olympians in our #LondonLions series. Today, we profile one of our #LondonLions, Sherif Farrag. Follow @CU_Spectator and @CUSpecSports to make sure you’re up to date.
Sherif Farrag (CC ’09) has been training hard over the past year, earning himself a spot at the Olympics. But before he was fencing on the world’s stage, he started off his college career in Morningside Heights living in Carman Hall and studying in Butler.
The two-time Columbia co-captain will represent Egypt in men’s team foil on Sunday, August 5, when Egypt duels Great Britain, with the winner advancing to the quarterfinals. He was kind enough to take some time off from preparing for competition to answer a few questions for us via email.
1. What Olympic athlete are you gonna ask to call you maybe?
I’m gonna be a little bit of a creeper; Michelle Jenneke did not qualify this year but I’m rooting for her for Rio 2016. It’s great to see someone so happy to compete.
2. Rumor has it the Olympic village is a giant orgy. Confirm or deny?
Haha I did read that article last week. I think it generalizes a little bit only because while there is the party-hard hook-up culture among athletes, there are still plenty of athletes who do not indulge, and who go to bed early after their competitions believe it or not.
3. What is the one song you play before every competition or during all of your workouts?
Heads High by Mr. Vegas. Digital Love – Daft Punk has also been on my playlist. This year I’ve been avoiding music though for the most part because I’ve been too amped up and anxious; instead I’ve been meditating and trying different ways to relax.
4. Have you decided on whether to fast during the Olympics, specifically during competition? How did you come to your decision?
Well, I’m taking it day by day. Following the practices of the Prophet Mohamed, it isn’t obligatory to fast while traveling and if it is unusually difficult which is the case for Muslim Olympians in London. On the day of the competition and a couple of days before, I won’t be fasting.
5. How do you handle the conflict between the apparent Olympic village culture and Islam?
I think mostly Islam has much more in common with the Olympics than differences. Praying, like meditation, is very therapeutic for some athletes and a lot of sports psychology’s approach for staying level and not getting high with winning and low with losing has a lot in common with Islamic teachings.
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