North Africa, Nigeria dominate Africa’s Olympic boxing slots

After six days of intense action at the Africa Olympics Boxing Qualifier in Dakar, Senegal, only eight countries out of the 41 that participated, dominated the 18 slots at the Paris 2024 Olympics. 

Even under the very mean qualification standards where only the seven gold medalists among men and 11 finalists among women could qualify, Algeria once again showed its mastery in the continental game. 

The North Africans secured five slots, two of them among men and three among women, with an enviable four gold medals thanks to Imane Khelif and Roumaysa Boualam in the women’s 66kg and 50kg categories, respectively.

DR Congo, Mozambique, Tunisia and Zambia got a slot apiece.
Nigeria, who missed the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, was the surprise performer, securing three slots, the same won by Egypt and Morocco. Nigeria’s revival will even feel more emphatic after denying powerhouse  Algeria two gold medals. 

Adam Olaore defeated Algeria’s Houmri Mohamed to clinch the men’s 92kg gold and Olympics slot just before Cynthia Ogunsemilore, who had already secured an Olympics slot by reaching the final,  defeated Algeria’s favourite Hadjila Khelif to clinch the women’s 60kg gold. 

Earlier on, Joshua Omole Dolapo, had clinched a ticket to Paris with  a 3-2 win against Ethiopia’s Yadesa Leta  in the men’s 57kg final.

Stylish Patrick Chinyemba was the only boxer, who qualified from outside Northern and Western African. The Zambian did so after stopping Eladine Zidi in the third round. 

Ghana, the only African team that got a medal from Tokyo 2020, lined up a full team of 13,  but returned home empty-handed, with just one semifinal appearance. 

Hosts Senegal came close to the coveted ticket but Algeria’s super-heavyweight Kadi Mourad broker their hearts with a 4:1 victory over  Diarga Balde in the men’s +92kg category.  

Yusuf Lucasi Changalawe,  Tanzania’s last man standing, lost to Egyptian  Abdelrahman Salah 5-0 in the men’s 80kg gold medal match.

On the decisive day, Kenya’s Hit Squad kept their Olympic hopes in middleweight Elizabeth Andiego until she lost her gold medal match to Morocco’s Khadija Mardi 5:0. Mardi, a 2016 Rio Olympian, used her experience to hit and move until to  secure a sweet victory, following a break that denied  her the Tokyo 2020 Games but gave her a third child. 

Mauritius’  three-time Olympian Louis Richarno Colin, who defeated Uganda’s only semifinalist Joshua Tukamuhebwa 4:1, lost the final  by the same score to  Algeria’s Jugurtha Bekka in the men’s 63.5kg.   

Colin,  like the Ugandans, will hope for better fortunes at the World Olympics Qualifiers in  Busto Arsizio, Italy in March  and in Bangkok, Thailand in  May.

Europe has already qualified 44 boxers. The continental qualifications to Paris 2024 continue at the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou, China this weekend, then the  2023 Pan American Games in Santiago,  Chile and the Pacific Games in Honiara, Solomon Islands later this year.

Algeria: 5 slots
Egypt, Morocco, Nigeria: 3 slots
DR Congo, Mozambique, Tunisia, Zambia: 1 slot 

                   Gold  Silver  Bronze
1. Algeria     4    2   3
2. Nigeria:     3-0-3
3. Morocco:   2-1-3
4. Egypt:         2-1-0
5. Tunisia:      1-1-1
6. Zambia:       1-0-1
7. DR Congo:   0-1-3
8. Mozambique: 0-1-1
8. Senegal: 0-1-1
10. Ethiopia: 0-1-0
10. Kenya: 0-1-0
10. Mauritius: 0-1-0
10. Tanzania 0-1-0
14. Cameroon: 0-0-2
15. Cape Verde: 0-0-1
15. Ghana: 0-0-1
15. Ivory Coast: 0-0-1
15. Lesotho: 0-0-1
15. Namibia: 0-0-1
15. Seychelles: 0-0-1
15. Sierra Leone: 0-0-1
15. South Africa: 0-0-1
15. Uganda: 0-0-1

1-51 kg  ,Zambia 
57- kg , Nigeria 
63.5kg, Algeria
71 kg  ,Egypt
80 kg Egypt
92  kg , Nigeria 
92+ kg Algeria

50 kg  Algeria, Morocco
54 kg  Morocco , Egypt
57 kg  Tunisia, Congo
60 kg  Algeria ,Nigeria
66, kg  Algeria , Mozambique
75 kg  Morocco

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