CAIRO – Ali el-Sharkawy, a nationally rated bodybuilder, exercises in the evenings, but only after he had spent the morning collecting trash to support his athletic career.
Although he has achieved laurels, including two bronze medals at national championships, he has been unable to find money or external backing, much like the majority of Egyptian athletes that participate in individual sports.
Instead, he uses a horse-drawn cart to collect garbage and recyclables throughout Gharbia, his hometown in the Nile delta of Egypt, and earns up to $6.59 per day.
“I wish there were superior alternatives,” said Sharkawy to Reuters.
According to Sharkawy, he has not found state support for his bodybuilding career, and the majority of financing is allocated to more prominent team sports such as soccer.
Despite the constraints of his training regimen, he draws inspiration from Mamdouh Elssbiay, often known as “Big Ramy,” a renowned Egyptian bodybuilder who won the Mr Olympia title in both 2020 and 2021.
Mostafa el-Tamimi, Sharkawy’s coach, stated that Sharkawy achieved results shortly after beginning training.
“He hopes to compete in an international competition, but a bodybuilding career requires support and funding for nutrition,” he explained.
»Egyptian bodybuilder makes a living by collecting rubbish«