African Judo Championships (Agadir, Morocco) : Maghreb reaffirms, but…
The African judo championships did not respect the tradition of the past years where the Maghreb, Algeria or Tunisia wins all at the end of the competition. This time around, Algeria came on top thanks to a strong ladies team.
With a total of 17 medals, Algeria stands at a high and efficient level. Meanwhile during the Agadir rendez -vous in the men’s competition, Algeria was highly dominated. In the face of stiff competition from Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco, Algerians could only content themselves with silver and bronze medals. Former champions like Abderahmane Benamadi (- 81Kg) or Amar Benikhlef (-90 kg) were sidelined from the continent’s top brass. That is a strong warning. This means the competition is intensifying.
And the competition is not only at the North African level. Countries like Cameroon, Gabon, Senegal, South Africa or Libya have come to change the certainties. This means that the collective work done in the other regions have started yielding fruits even though the “fantastic four” from the North are still comfortable. But for the moment.
Analysis of the tournament
They are surprising (both in the men’s and ladies’ categories).
In the men’s category, the greatest shock was recorded in the 100kg. In the heavy weight, it was thought Egypt’s Islam El Shebaby was tipped favourite amongst the others. But that was not the case as Morocco’s Malki El Mehdi over turned the mountains and defeated the Egyptian. Mistake or talent? That will be confirmed during the next competitions as well wait and see if the Moroccan will confirm his supremacy.
In the Ladies’ category:
In a very open category, Tunisia’s Ayari Hela seized her chance and won her first continental title.
Algeria’s Tariket Ratiba made a remarkable progress. Only third in 2011, she recorded a first title to her name in the 57kg. Rania El Kilali ( – 78 kg) Zouak Rizlen ( -63kg) from Morocco are the ladies on the rise. The first put an end to the long reign of Tunisia’s Nihel Chikhrouhou while the second confirmed her recent exploits in the world championships (Budapest, Varsovie).
To note are the brilliant performances of Mauritius’ Anabelle Laprovidence (3rd) in the 78kg and Angola’s Antonia Moreira, defeated at the finals by the untouchable Miled Houda.
The following men confirmed their positions; Jaballah Fayçal(Tun) and Attaf Safouane (Morocco): The Tunisian had put up strong performances during the different Grand Prix staged at the start of the year. His triumph in Agadir in the Open category, even in the absence of Islam El Shehaby, deserves some plaudits and consolidates his status as one of the athletes heading for London 2012.
Morocco’s Attaf Safouane is in the same light. He produced a big hit by overcoming Algeria’s Abderahmane Benamadi andEgypt’s Mohamed Darwish. After faltering in Dakar in 2011 where he came third, he reclaims his place amongst the continent’s elite. Finally, from nothing, Ivory Coast’s Romeo Kone Kinapeya rose to the podium in the -90kg category. Third in 2010, he maintained the same position in 2012; same like Gideon Van Zyl, who was champion in 2011, the South African lost at the last minute in the final to Egypt’s Hussein Hafiz in the -73kg category.
In the ladies’ category:
Cameroon’s Philomène Bata, 3rd in the -48kg , confirmed her regular spot in the top three. In 2010 and 2011, she finished second as well as Gabon’s Sandrine Iloudou ( -48
kg) and Cote d’Ivoire’s Dabonne Zouleiha Abzetta (-52kg) regularly ranked amongst the Top 5 Africans.
In the men’s category:
Dieudonne Dossalem could not make it. It seems the second and third spots are meant for him. He once more finished second in Agadir, like he did in 2009, in Mauritius. But he performed better than 2010 (3rd in Yaoundé) and in 2011 (3rd in Dakar). It is worthy to mention that the Cameroonian is in the same rank like Algeria’s Amar Benikhlef and Egypt’s Hesham Mesbah, who are international heavy weights. His compatriot Frank Martial Moussima Ewane (-100 kg and Open) is in the same category.
In the ladies category:
Senegal’s Hortance Diedhiou missed an opportunity to retain her title. The same could be said for Morocco’s Fatima Zohra Ait Ali who was heavily tipped by her supporters to retain her title.
In the men’s category:
South Africa’s Patrick Trezise dropped from the top. Third in 2008, 2009, second in 2011, he failed this time to make the top three but the greatest fall can be attributed to Egypt’s Islam El Shehaby. The heavyweight prince did not certainly notice the threat coming from El Mehdi Malki
In the ladies’ category:
Nebie Severine: third in the – 63 kg. She was the main surprise in 2011 in Dakar after winning the title, the first in the history of Burkina Faso. However, the greatest fall can be attributed to Tunisia’s Nihel Chikhrouhou. The 25 year old athlete was on a streak of four consecutive titles (2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011) before letting go her title to the rising Moroccan Rania El Kilali.
They are untouchable…
Three athletes deserve this attribute, two ladies, Miled Houda and Soraya Haddad, and one man, Darwsih Ramadan. Miled Houdaa won her fourth African title (, 2008, 2010, 2011 and 2012). Winner of the Sofia Grand Prix, third at the World Championships in Rotterdam in 2009, the Tunisian is the Queen of the – 70kg category. Who doesn’t know Algeria’s Soraya Haddad? The El Kseur native has uncountable number of titles. Medalist at the World Championships, Olympic games, regularly featuring amongst the top athletes at Grand Slams; she is the reference point of African judo.
Her triumph in Agadir is but normal. Her exploits are similar to those of Egypt’s Ramadan
Darwsih. He has won almost all major titles on the continent and is gradually making his way through the international ladder. His talent once more made the difference in Agadir.