The final day of competition at the AIBA African Olympic Qualification Event in Yaoundé saw some of the continent’s best boxers battle it out for a place at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. Saturday’s two sessions encompassed eight men’s and six women’s bouts, and while the male finalists were all guaranteed quota places, only the women’s champions at flyweight, lightweight and middleweight would be joining them in Rio, along with the winners of the four men’s box-offs at flyweight, lightweight, welterweight and super heavyweight.
The day’s first bout saw Uganda’s Ronald Serugo secure his Olympic berth at flyweight by beating Lesotho’s Moroke Mokhotho, before South African Sikho Nqothole took the day’s first gold medal at the weight.
The winners of the three women’s Olympic weights were then unveiled, with Moroccan Zohra Ez Zahraoui beating Nigeria’s Caroline Linus to the first gold and Rio quota place at flyweight after a frenetic contest.
With so much at stake, the lightweight final between Morocco’s Hasnaa Lachgar and Tunisia’s Khouloud was a similarly tense affair, with a delighted Lachgar narrowly edging the bout. Khadija Mardi then made it a remarkable hat-trick of wins for the Moroccan women’s team after she beat Cameroon number one Yannick Azangue Aubiege.
The men’s lightweight competition began the evening session, and African Nations Cup winner Andrique Allisop got off to a strong start in his crucial box-off with Tunisia’s Alaa Shili, holding on to the early advantage to give the Seychelles their first 2016 Olympic Boxing quota place before Egypt’s Mahmoud Abdelaal took the gold.
“I was not in great shape in the semi-final so I had to endure the stressful box-offs where I did my best to get the Olympic spot. My rhythm was too quick in the first two rounds and I felt tired at the end, but I did enough to win this difficult bout against a strong boxer who has competed in a lot of big events. I have qualified for my second Olympic Games and it is an amazing feeling,” said Seychelles’ Andrique Allisop.
Zohir Kedache was too strong for Ghana’s Mohammed Azumah as he secured Algeria’s seventh Olympic place in the welterweight box-off, before Kenyan 29-year-old Rayton Nduku Okwiri took the gold medal.
The men’s super heavyweights then brought nine superb days of boxing to a close in style with Nigeria’s All Africa Games winner Efe Ajagba beating big rival Mohammed Arjaoui of Morocco, after Tunisia’s Aymen Trabelsi had secured the third quota place with a box-off win over Davilson Dos Santos Morais.
List of winners in the AIBA African Olympic Qualification Event
Women’s 51 kg: Zohra Ez-Zahraoui, Morocco
Women’s 60 kg: Hasnaa Lachgar, Morocco
Women’s 75 kg: Khadija Mardi, Morocco
Men’s 49 kg: Simplice Fotsala, Cameroon
Men’s 52 kg: Sikho Nqothole, South Africa
Men’s 56 kg: Bilel M’Hamdi, Tunisia
Men’s 60 kg: Mahmoud Abdelaal, Egypt
Men’s 64 kg: Jonas Junias Jonas, Namibia
Men’s 69 kg: Rayton Nduku Okwiri, Kenya
Men’s 75 kg: Dieudonne Wilfried Seyi Ntsengue, Cameroon
Men’s 81 kg: Abdelhafid Benchabla, Algeria
Men’s 91 kg: Joseph Kennedy St. Pierre, Mauritius
Men’s +91 kg: Efe Ajagba, Nigeria
Check out all the results here.