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“I’m never ever satisfied about myself”

“I’m never ever satisfied about myself”

Photographer:Fotograaf: Joey Roberts

The seven sins of show jumper Andrew Amal Afifi Dawood
  • Greed. I’m not greedy at all; I don’t desire material possessions. I’m happy with what I have. Okay, I have to admit: show jumping is an elite equestrian sport. You have to look good and your outfit must be presentable, but I don’t need most luxury stuff. Luckily my parents pay all my expenses for training and competition. When it comes to international shows you’ve got at least 500 euros in entry fees, plus the costs of hiring a truck to transport the horse, the fee for the groom (stable boy), the hotel, food and drink, you name it.
  • Gluttony. Four years ago I was 110 kilos. I ate too much. But I felt my horse was having to jump higher because of my weight, so I decided to eat less. I stuck to a strict diet and workout regime for two years. Now I weigh 75 kilos. I maintain a healthy lifestyle and train daily. I don’t drink or smoke. 
  • Lust. I broke up with my girlfriend a year and a half ago. We’d been together for three years, but unfortunately it didn’t work out. Show jumpers get a lot of attention, but when I’m performing I don’t notice that at all, I’m focused only on the course. Afterwards – but only if I did well [laughs] – I’m up for a get-together.
  • Envy. I can feel jealous, for example when a competitor is better than me, but I don’t let it take over my body and mind. I don’t start yelling or bullying. I keep jealousy to myself; it gives me strength to work harder. My dad and my trainer are very inspiring. My dad has a law firm. I look up to him; I want to be like him. When I came to Maastricht he said, ‘If you want to go there, I support you.’ [After the interview: ‘Can I mention another person who’s inspired me? My mom. She’s a gift from God and backs me in everything.’]
  • Sloth. I have no time to be lazy. I study, and I train in Velp every weekend. Once a week I do some cleaning in my apartment – I hate mess. You’ll never see me lying on the couch. Actually I hate being at home, it’s boring. I like to hang out with friends or work out.
  • Wrath. Sometimes I can get angry. Once, the night before a big show in Egypt, my horse got injured and I couldn’t tolerate the people around me. In situations like that I don’t want to talk to anyone, I’m afraid I’ll say things I’ll regret. Often I leave and sit alone. Sometimes I pray. I see anger as a weakness.
  • Pride. I’m not self-satisfied. I’m never ever satisfied about myself. Of course I can feel proud, but then straight away I believe there’s always more to do. My trainer Karim el Zoghby, also an Egyptian, is very talented. And strict. I accept his toughness; he wants us to be down to earth. If you win a battle, you’re not the man of the world – ‘you’re still the shittiest rider out there’, he says. There are many people who didn’t last a day in his stable.

Andrew Amal Afifi Dawood, 23, third-year student of European Law School, born and raised in Cairo, Egypt.

Trains eight to thirteen hours a week in Velp, Gelderland. Jumps for the Egyptian national team. Training for international shows in Europe and the Arab League, aiming to qualify for the World Equestrian Games in 2018 and the Olympic Games in 2020.

Best performance to date: First in the Egyptian National Cup in 2010 and third in 2015, third in the Arab League in 2010.

This is a series about students who sport at the highest level



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