1932 British Forces in Egypt Athletics Medal

Although Egypt gained its independence in 1922, British troops remained in the country until the 1950s. They were employed protecting the Suez Canal and training the indigenous forces. In 1930, there were three formations under the command, namely the Cavalry Brigade, Canal Brigade and Cairo Brigade, each commanded by a Temporary Brigadier (Colonel). The main British bases were at Abbassia on the outskirts of Cairo, Kasr-el-Nil (in central Cairo), Moascar (Ismailia) and at Alexandria. The men employed in Egypt needed to be kept occupied when not on duty and as always with the British Army, sporting events were encouraged.

Whilst many sports were played, traditional athletics remained popular and usually consited of track and field events. The 1945 “Games and Sports in the Services in India” set out what events were considered to fall under each catgegory:

Track events- 100 Yards, 220 yards, 440 yards, 120 yards hurdles, 880 yards, one mile and three mile races. 110 yard, 220 yard, 440 yard and 880 yard relay races.

Field Events- High jump, pole vault, long jump, hammer, javelin, discus

The manual advised organisers:

The Gymkhana or Regimental “Sports” type of meeting will be more in favour with units who are taking the opportunity of a Regimental Battle Honour Day or some other suitable occasion to provide some sport and perhaps at the same time social entertainment for the unit.

Having ascertained the date of the meeting, the next task is to book a track, if there is one anywhere near. Failing a track the secretary should seek a suitable ground. This may not always be easy to find but with some searching it should be possible to find a school playing ground or at the most a reasonably flat grass field.

It was typical to award those competing in the competition small medallions to commemorate the event and this fine example depicts the Sphinx:

The reverse of the medal indicates it was awarded for athletics in 1932 for the runners up in the Team Athletic Championships:

The same publication explained about team competitions in athletics:

A team competition will probably prove to be the more popular- it never fails to create excitement as each track event is run off by teams of four men and the races usually provide exciting finishes. Many more men are called upon to represent their sub-unit and the outstanding athlete is not at such a premium as a point scorer as in an individual meeting. In the field events in a team meeting each team provided two men per event and the aggregate of their best performances is the team result.

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