Back home, they are fondly called the ‘twin towers of Egypt’. Here for the India Open Grand Prix, identical twins, Yasin Marwan Saada and Youssef Marwan Saada, have teamed up in an international event for the first time.
“It’s fun to partner your sibling but there is a flip side to it (according to him). You share a different rapport with friends. But using crass words freely, friendly banter and small tiffs between siblings are part of the deal,” said Yasin.
He recalled an incident in 2007. “I remember playing at the Egyptian Championship. My playing arm was throbbing and at one point I drove the shuttle into the net. That irritated Youssef a lot and he began abusing me. I lost my cool and threw the racquet. We neither played nor talked to each other for a whole year,” said the 21-year-old.
Youssef smiled sheepishly. “It only shows our passion for the sport. Our national ranking in doubles stands at No. 2,” he said.
Interestingly, the twins were tennis players before taking the plunge into badminton at the age of 10. “We were spotted by national coach, Mustafa Kamel. There has been no looking back,” said Youssef.
Kamel is an important connect between the Saadas and Tawfeeks, the other sibling pair from Egypt.
Asmaa Badie Tawfeek and Ahmed Badie Tawfeek have a few things in common with the Saadas. Spotted by Kamel, the Tawfeeks too are teaming up at an international event for the first time. While Asmaa calls badminton her life, Ahmed plays for the sake of it.
“My heart lies in football,” he says. Asmaa dabbled in gymnastics, diving and synchronised swimming before taking to badminton at 12. “I wanted Ahmed to play as well,” said Asmaa.
Ahmed disagreed. “I would have done better as a defender than being a singles player,” said the 21-year old. “I even tried getting into the police but was rejected because of the bow legs I have because of playing football,” said Ahmed, who counts Lionel Messi and Brazil as favourites.
Interview done and photographs clicked, it was time to leave but before that one heard Ahmed giving his sister an earful.
“He doesn't want me to wear a skirt while playing. Not done,” said an annoyed Aasma.
Boys will be boys!