#WrestleAlexandria Senior African Championships 2024 Preview

By Vinay Siwach

ALEXANDRIA, Egypt (March 13) -- At last year's African Championships, Nigeria entered finals in all 10 women's weight classes. Out of the 10, it won six gold medals and four silver medals.

Nigeria will look to better its performance from 2023 at the African Championships which will be held on March 18 and 19 in Alexandria, Egypt. The U17 and U20 African Championships will be held before the senior competition at the same venue.

After a two-day break, the African and Oceania OG Qualifiers will also be held in Alexandria, making the African Championships even more important as the countries participating in the first event will be eligible to participate in the qualifiers.

Nigeria will be led by world bronze medalist Odunayo ADEKUOROYE (NGR) at 57kg as she returns to competition for the first time since September. She had skipped last year's championships but a gold medal in Alexandria will earn her 10000 points. A win will ensure that Adekuoroye tops the 57kg rankings.

Tokyo Olympic silver medalist Blessing OBORUDUDU (NGR) will defend her 68kg gold medal. Oborududu has failed to repeat her performances since winning that silver in Tokyo. However, she won the African title for a record 10th time last year.

The 65kg champion Khadija JLASSI (TUN) is now jumping up to 68kg and will look to challenge Oborududu in the new weight class.

At 50kg, Mercy GENESIS (NGR) is returning to defend her gold as is Christianah OGUNSANYA (NGR) at 53kg, Mercy ADEKUOROYE (NGR) at 59kg and Ebi BIOGOS (NGR) at 72kg.

Esther KOLAWOLE (NGR) finished with a silver medal at 62kg but with Marwa AMRI (TUN) moving into coaching, she will be the favorite to win the gold medal in Alexandria.

The 76kg weight class can throw some interesting match-ups as 72kg bronze medalist Zaineb SGHAIER (TUN) has moved to the Olympic weight class. She will likely face Hannah RUEBEN (NGR) who won a silver medal at 76kg last year.

Yousiff HEMIDA (EGY)Yousiff HEMIDA (EGY) was African champion in 2022. (Photo: UWW / Bayrem Ben Mrad)


The six Olympic weight classes will see intense battles. 57kg champion Diamantino IUNA FAFE (GBS) will be the favorite to win the gold medal but bronze medalist Khalil BARKOUTI (TUN) is returning.

The 65kg weight class will see a new champion as only bronze medalist Zohier IFTENE (ALG) is returning for the African Championships. But it will be difficult to count out Shehabeldin MOHAMED (EGY), Wotna NDOC (GBS), Yassine JAA (MAR), Sylvio DIATTA (SEN) and Mohamed BEN HAFSIA (TUN).

Last year's silver medalist Bacar NDUM (GBS) will start as the favorite at 74kg as Amr REDA (EGY) has decided to skip the championships for the qualifiers.

It will be a similar story in 86kg as only bronze medalist Harrison ONOVWIOMOGBOHWO (NGR) is returning to upgrade his medal. The 2023 gold medalist Fateh BENFERDJALLAH (ALG) will be looking to qualify for Algeria later and he will be replaced by Oussama ABDELLAOUI (ALG) for the championships.

At 97kg, none of the 2023 medalists are entered and a new African champion will be crowned. Fares YAHI (ALG), Abdelrahman ABOUHEIBA (EGY) and Anas SAMIR (MAR) will fancy their chances for the same.

Egypt will be looking to keep the 125kg medal to itself and that responsibility will be on Youssif HEMIDA (EGY) who is replacing the gold medalist Diaaeldin KAMAL (EGY). However, silver medalist Hamza RAHMANI (TUN) hopes to change the color of his medal.

At 61kg, Abdelhak KHERBACHE (ALG) is returning to defend his gold medal while 79kg silver medalist Chems FETAIRIA (ALG) is entered as well.

Moustafa ALAMELDIN (EGY)U20 world champion Moustafa ALAMELDIN (EGY) is the favorite at 67kg. (Photo: UWW / Kostadin Andonov)


World bronze medalist and defending champion Abdellatif MOHAMED (EGY) will be eyeing his eighth African Championships title as he enters the competition at 130kg. He has two African Games gold medals as well.

Mohamed has dominated the super heavyweight class for years in the continent and is likely to have smooth sailing to the gold again.

With most of Algeria's first team entered for the Olympic Qualifiers, Egypt has a huge chance to win gold medals in multiple weight classes. Last year, Egypt and Algeria shared five gold medals each in Greco-Roman.

At 60kg, Haithem MAHMOUD (EGY) will look to defend his gold medal but 55kg champion Mohamed DRIDI (ALG) has jumped up a weight class to challenge Mahmoud. Also in the mix is Ibrahim BUNDUKA (SLE) who finished with a silver medal.

No medalists from last year are entered at 67kg, leaving the weight class open for a new champion. U20 world champion Moustafa ALAMELDIN (EGY) will be the favorite to win the gold. He won a silver medal at the 2022 championships. Fayssal BENFREDJ (ALG) and Oussama NASR (TUN) can challenge Alameldin.

The 77kg will see returning champion Mohamed KHALIL (EGY) hoping to win a second straight gold medal. Algeria has entered Chawki DOULACHE (ALG) and a Freestyle bronze medalist last year Francisco KADIMA (ANG) is entered in Greco-Roman this year.

Haithem ISSAAD (ALG) and Noureldin HASSAN (EGY) are likely to wrestle for the gold medal at 87kg as most of the medalists have skipped this tour for the qualifiers. 

At 97kg, Emad ABOUELATTA (EGY) is challenging himself by moving up a weight class. He won a silver medal at 87kg last year and is entered in the new weight this year. But Amine BENDJELLOUL (ALG) will be keen on getting a hand on the Egyptian. Bendjelloul has big shoes to fill as he has named the replacement for Bachir SID AZARA (ALG).

Algeria has Abdelmalek MERABET (ALG) as the returning champion at 72kg.

#WrestleAlexandria, #WrestleParis

Samoa, Australia, South Africa end Olympic drought with Paris spots in Alexandria

By Vinay Siwach

ALEXANDRIA, Egypt (March 24) -- Seven nations shared the 12 Paris Olympics Freestyle quotas on the final day of the African & Oceania OG Qualifiers in Alexandria.

Hosts Egypt led the way with four quotas while Australia and Guinea Bissau won two each. Samoa, Algeria, South Africa and Nigeria won one each to complete the line-up.

Samoa qualified for the first time in Freestyle as Gaku AKAZAWA (SAM) dominated his bouts to win the quota. Paris will also mark the first Samoan wrestler at the Olympics since Sydney 2000. Akazawa, a former Japanese high school star who moved to Samoa in 2017, defeated Wotna NDOC (GBS) via fall in the first period of the 65kg semifinal.

Georgii OKOROKOV (AUS) also ended an eight-year wait for Australia as he qualified at 65kg after winning the other semifinal. He defeated Manaceu NGONDA (ANG) 10-0.

A little later, Jayden LAWRENCE (AUS) earned a Paris quota at 86kg with a thrilling 4-4 win over Harrison ONOVWIOMOGBOHWO (NGR) in the semifinals. 

Onovwiomogbowho scored a takedown, earned another point for Lawrence's passivity and added a stepout to build a 4-0 lead in the semifinal. Lawrence put all his energy into scoring a takedown in the second period but found it difficult. He ultimately hit a cut back which made Onovwiomogbohwo fall on his back, giving Lawrence four points.

Lawrence kept his 4-4 criteria lead for the final two minutes and earned a Paris 2024 quota.

Tokyo Olympian Fateh BENFERDJALLAH (ALG) joined him as the qualified wrestler for Paris as he defeated Cedric ABOSSOLO (CMR) 7-0 and won the ticket.

South Africa will also be back in the Olympics after 16 years Nicholas de LANGE (RSA) qualified the country at 97kg after he defeated Mohamed SAADAOUI (TUN)via fall. The former U20 world medalist convincingly won both bouts.

Mostafa ELDERS (EGY) was surprised by Wali KEBIR (ALG) who scored three points on Elders but the Egyptian never lost his cool and posted an easy 15-3 victory.

Egypt qualified three more weight classes, 57kg, 74kg and 125kg, with Amr REDA (EGY) leading from the front. The ever-consistent Reda took just 33 seconds after the first period to win the quota after beating Rayanne ESSAIDI (MAR), 11-0. His previous two wins of the day were via falls.

At 125kg, Diaaeldin ABDELMOTTALEB (EGY) survived a scare to beat Modou FAYE (SEN), 3-3, in the semifinals and qualify for the Games. He got a 1-0 lead after Faye was called passive but no additional points were scored in the first period.

Faye was put on the activity clock again in the second period this time he hit a single-leg attack to takedown. Abdelmottaleb was put on the activity clock late in the bout and failed to score, giving one more point to Faye who now led 3-1 with just over a minute left.

Abdelmottaleb scored a takedown using a go-behind to take a 3-3 criteria lead and defended it for the last 28 seconds to qualify for the Olympics.

Gamal MOHAMED (EGY) did not face any troubles as he won the 57kg place with an easy 8-0 win over KHALIL BARKOUTI (TUN) in the semifinal.

Two of the remaining three spots were captured by Guinea Bissau as Tokyo Olympian Diamantino IUNA FAFE (GBS) won at 57kg, rolling to a 10-0 win over Suraj SINGH (NZL) while 74kg African champion Bacar NDUM (GBS) defeated Oyeinkeperemo BRAVEMAN (NGR), 10-2, in his semifinal.

The second 125kg quota was won by Ashton MUTUWA (NGR) who was involved in a high-scoring bout against Justin VAN ZYL (RSA) before winning via fall.



57kg Paris Olympic Qualification Bouts
SF 1: Diamantino IUNA FAFE (GBS) df. Suraj SINGH (NZL), 10-0

65kg Paris Olympic Qualification Bouts
SF 1: Georgii OKOROKOVV (AUS) df. Manaceu NGONDA (ANG), 10-0
SF 2: Gaku AKAZAWA (SAM) df. Wotna NDOC (GBS), via fall (4-2)

74kg Paris Olympic Qualification Bouts
SF 1: Amr REDA (EGY) df. Rayanne ESSAIDI (MAR), 11-0
SF 2: Bacar NDUM (GBS) df. Oyeinkeperemo BRAVEMAN (NGR), 10-2

86kg Paris Olympic Qualification Bouts
SF 1: Fateh BENFERDJALLAH (ALG) df. Cedric ABOSSOLO (CMR), 7-0
SF 2: Jayden LAWRENCE (AUS) df. Harrison ONOVWIOMOGBOHWO (NGR), 4-4

97kg Paris Olympic Qualification Bouts
SF 1: Nicolaas DE LANGE (RSA) df. Mohamed SAADAOUI (TUN), via fall (5-2)
SF 2: Mostafa ELDERS (EGY) df. Wali KEBIR (ALG), 15-3

125kg Paris Olympic Qualification Bouts
SF 1: Diaaeldin ABDELMOTTALEB (EGY) df. Modou FAYE (SEN), 3-3
SF 2: Ashton MUTUWA (NGR) df. Justin VAN ZYL (RSA), via fall (16-8)