Four nations were able to qualify boats based on their performance at the 2015 African Sailing Championships. The championship contained four Olympic events where the top two highest ranked eligible boats in the men’s laser, women’s laser radial and men’s RS:X along with the highest ranked boat in the women’s RS:X were given spots to compete. The African Sailing Championship was held in Algiers, Algeria from December 4th to December 11th 2015.
In the men’s RS:X a total of 13 boats from 5 nations competed. After a relatively poor first race Algeria’s Hamza Bouras was able to win six out of the twelve races on route to gold and a quota for his nation. Second place was decided in the final race where Algeria’s Zakaria Belaidouni finished ahead of Seychelles’ Jean-Marc Gardette. However, a nation can only have one boat per event so the Olympic quota went to the Seychelles.
Katia Belabbas was in a league of her own in the women’s RS:X as she won all twelve races to win the gold medal and Olympic quota. Algeria completed the sweep in the two nation, four boat regatta as compatriots Faiza Matallah and Sara Hammaoui won the silver and bronze medal respectively.
The women’s laser radial had a total of 8 boats from 5 nations. The regatta was constantly a fight between Algeria’s Imene Sahraoui, Egypt’s Khlouloud Mansi and Tunisia’s Ines Gmati. For almost all of the ten races the three sailors occupied the top three positions. By the time the final race occurred only two points separated the three sailors. Ines Gmati was able to win the final race followed by Mansi and Sahraoui. This led to a three way tie at 18 points. Using the tie-breaker Gmati and Sahraoui won the gold and silver medals and Olympic spots respectively.
The men’s laser race had a total of 10 boats from 6 nations. The gold medal went to Tunisia’s Youssef Akrout whom won nine out of the ten races. However, he did not win an Olympic place since he already won one for his nation back at the 2014 World Championship. Seychelles was already guaranteed a quota spot before the final race as only Rodney Govinden could catch his compatriot Allan Julie. The race for the final spot was between Algeria’s Idris Bouhadda, Angola’s Manuel Lelo and Egypt’s Ahmed Ragab. Bouhadda was penalized for starting over the start line, effectively ending his chances. Lelo needed to finish two spots ahead of Ragab to win the quota and did well by finishing in second, but a third place finish by Ragab was enough to give him the second quota. Julie ended up with the bronze medal due to capsizing in the final race meaning his compatriot Govinden finished ahead of him after placing fourth in the final race.
This was the final opportunity for African nations to qualify in these four sailing events. The next African championship will be the men’s 470 to be held in 2016. The other five events will be held in during the Princess Sofia Trophy Regatta.
Quotas by Nations
- Algeria – 3
- Seychelles – 2
- Egypt – 1
- Tunisia – 1
- WorldSailing. Olympic places settled at African Laser and Laser Radial Championships. Access on December 12 2015.
- RS:X. 2015 African Championship – Men’s RS:X Results. Access on December 12 2015.
- RS:X. 2015 African Championship – Women’s RS:X Results. Access on December 12 2015.