African Hammer Throw champion Mohsen Anani of Egypt (Ghada Abd Elkader) © Copyright
Mohsen ANANI, Egypt (Hammer Throw)
Born 21 May 1985, Tunis
1.87m / 117kg
Coach: Nagy Assad
Mother Tunisian, father Egyptian. Brother Sadok, born in 1982 is a javelin thrower (71.50m PB in 2009)
Egypt’s Mohsen Anani is asserting himself as the leader of hammer throw in Africa, ending a decade-long domination by South Africa’s Chris Harmse.
The son of an Egyptian father and a Tunisian mother, Mohsen was born in Tunis, where he spent his early life. His mother, a former long jumper, encouraged her 2 sons to try athletics, but Mohsen wasn’t interested. Things changed when he saw his brother Sadok starting to win Tunisia’s youth titles and he decided to give it a try too. Following in his brother’s footsteps, Mohsen started with the javelin, but it became rapidly clear he had no potential in the event.
In December 1998, the family moved back to Egypt. Mohsen switched to the shot put but didn’t experience good feelings with that event either. His brother then told him “Why don’t you try the hammer?” and a career was launched. “From the first day, I knew, this is my event,” Mohsen remembers.
Things then went quite fast for the younger Anani who broke the Egyptian youth record after only three months of training and earned his first selection in the national team. After the 1999 national youth championships he was recruited by former African shot put champion Nagy Assad, who was by then setting up a throwing school in Egypt that also included discus thrower Omar el Ghazaly and shot putter Yasser Fathy. The young Mohsen was very proud to be part of it.
The first regional medals came quickly. In 2000, Anani placed 3rd at the Pan Arab Junior Championships in Damascus (51.41m) and in 2001 he was 2nd at the African Junior Championships in Mauritius (57.11m), with the senior implement in both cases. But his first outings on the world scene turned out to be frustrating experiences. The young thrower was among the top 6 entrants at the 2001 World Youth Championships in Debrecen, but couldn’t do better than 65.38m, finishing 19th and failing to advance to the final – a big disappointment.
The following year he threw 71.40m, with the 6kg implement in April in Cairo but recorded 3 fouls at the World Juniors in Kingston. His coach tried to comfort him explaining he was still young and would still have the opportunity to compete another time at the World Juniors, as he was only 17. He then took 2nd place at the Arab Junior Championships in Cairo in September (70.04m – 6kg) behind Kuwait’s Ali Al-Zankawi, who is still dominating the event on the Arab scene at the moment.
In 2003, Anani became African junior champion in Garoua, Cameroon (68.41m - 6kg) and improved his best with the 6kg to 75.71m. Alongside his junior career he also started to draw attention to himself in the senior ranks. Early September, he placed 4th at the Arab Championships (68.30m). He then defeated the national champion for the first time, claiming his first national title (68.79m), which earned him a selection for the All Africa Games in Abuja, Nigeria, in October, where he placed 5th (67.24m)
2004 was a major year for Anani’s career, with a second participation at the World Junior Championships. He came to Grosseto with a 77.23m best, and this time the young Egyptian lived up to his promises, claiming a silver medal thanks to a 72.98m effort. Early August he went above 70m with the senior implement for the first time (70.41m on 5 August in Cairo) and set a new African junior record with the senior implement (72.50m) on 22 August in Cairo. In October, he clinched a silver medal at the Pan Arab Games in Algiers (71.65m). The season wasn’t over yet, as Anani cherished another dream: in his last two months as a junior, he wanted to take a shot at the World junior record that stood at 81.34m. From 22 November to 28 December, he competed at home with the 6kg hammer no fewer than 8 times, coming short of his goal, but eventually improving his national record to 79.56m.
In 2005, for his first year as a senior Anani, managed to qualify for the Helsinki World Championships, setting a national record and a B-qualifier (75.31m) on 22 July, three days before the entry deadline. There, he finished 23rd of the qualifications with 71.78m. He then moved to the United States, where he was enrolled as a student at Virginia Tech. The programme was supposed to last 4 years, but the Egyptian cut the experience short after a year, because the different training methods did not work out for him. He finished 4th of the NCAA Championships and brought precious points to the team but his performances had dropped from 75m to 68m, a situation that was far from satisfying for an athlete who had much higher ambitions. In summer 2006, he thus came back to Egypt and the Cairo Higher Institute where he graduated in business in 2009. He then placed 3rd at the African Championships in Mauritius (69.22m) before ending his season with 72.00m at the end of August in Cairo.
In 2007, the Egyptian progressively worked his way back to his previous level, recording a performance of 74.57m early July in Cairo. He then travelled to Algiers for the All Africa Games (2nd with 72.00m) and to Bangkok for the World University Games (4th with 72.66), before the World championships in Osaka where he placed 19th in the qualifications (72.93m). The season was not over, however, with the Pan Arab Games at home at the end of November. Preparing for the event, Anani set a new national record of 76.00m on 8 October. He went on to claim the Arab title in a rare defeat of Kuwait’s Al-Zankawi (74.22m to 74.02m).
2008 started with a good opening (75.20m at the end of February). There were another couple of 73m throws but then the performances dropped around 70 meters. At the Beijing Olympics, Anani suffered from blood pressure problems and had 3 fouls, unable to record a valid throw.
The following year again started with good performances on home soil (a series of 74.82, 75.97, 75.48, 76.40 in Cairo from March to May, 76.40m being a new national record and the best performance in Africa that season), but there were more difficulties to reach a similar level, during the summer, abroad. There was a 5th place at the Mediterranean Games in Pescara (71.58), a 10th place at the World University Games in Beograd (69.91) and a 20th place at the World Championships in Berlin (72.68). The year however ended on a better note in October with a victory at the Francophone Games in Beirut (71.30m) and a silver medal at the Arab Championships in Damascus (74.31m).
2010 marked a breakthrough as his new national record of 77.36m, set on 29 March, propelled him for the first time in the world Top 20 of the year (at the end of August, Anani is ranked 19th). The Egyptian also clinched his first continental crown (74.72m at the African Championships in Nairobi), ending a decade-long domination by South African veteran Chris Harmse and earning his first selection to represent Africa at the Continental Cup.
Anani is now hoping to get more opportunities to compete abroad and to take part to the Hammer Throw World Challenge next year and is very confident he can make the final at the 2011 World Championships in Daegu.
Unlike many athletes, Mohsen Anani rarely leaves his training base in Cairo. “I don’t like training camps. Training camps are not working for me,” says the Egyptian, who points out that his country offers very good weather conditions throughout the year.
When he is not training, Anani enjoys spending time drawing, hanging out with friends and watching movies, especially horror movies.
2000: 51.41; 2001: 58.65; 2002: 63.11 / 71.40 (6kg); 2003: 68.79 / 75.71 (6kg); 2004: 72.50 AJR / 79.56 (6kg); 2005: 75.31 NR; 2006: 72.00; 2007: 76.00 NR; 2008: 75.20; 2009: 76.40 NR; 2010: 77.36 NR
2000 3rd Arab Junior Championships (51.41)
2001 2nd African Junior Championships (57.11)
2001 q World Youth Championships (65.38 - 5kg)
2002 q World Junior Championships (NM)
2002 2nd Arab Junior Championships (70.04 - 6kg)
2003 1st African Junior Championships (68. 41 - 6kg)
2003 4th Arab Championships (68.30)
2003 5th All Africa Games (67.24)
2004 2nd World Junior Championships (72.98 - 6kg)
2004 2nd Pan Arab Games (71.65)
2005 4th Arab Solidarity Games (69.50)
2005 8th Mediterranean Games (69.83)
2005 q World Championships (71.78)
2006 4th NCAA Championships (68.35)
2006 3rd African Championships (69.22)
2007 2nd All Africa Games (72.00)
2007 4th World University Games (72.66)
2007 q World Championships (72.93)
2007 1st Pan Arab Games (74.22)
2008 q Olympic Games (NM)
2009 5th Mediterranean Games (71.58)
2009 10th World University Games (69.91)
2009 q World Championships (72.68)
2009 1st Francophone Games (71.30)
2009 2nd Arab Championships (74.31)
2010 1st African Championships (74.72)
Prepared by Carole Fuchs for the IAAF ‘Focus on Athletes’ project. Copyright IAAF 2010