In 1936 he won the bronze medal in the featherweight class. Due to the start of World War II and cancellation of the Olympics in both 1940 and 1944, he was forced to wait until the 1948 Summer Olympics to prove himself again. He received a gold medal by lifting a total of 360 kg in the lightweight event. He was the second Egyptian to earn two medals, after Farid Simaika, who earned them in diving at the 1928 Summer Olympics. Shams was the first to win two medals at two different Olympic tournaments.