Taekwondo: 10 Nations Qualify After African Qualifers

Ten nations, including two which will be making their Olympic debut in the sport qualified to the Olympics at the conclusion of the 2016 African Olympic Qualification Tournament. The two finalists were given spots to compete at the Olympics. Nations must also respect the maximum quota of 2 men and 2 women across all qualification methods. The African Olympic Qualification Tournament was held in Agadir, Morocco from February 6th to February 7th 2016.

The first day had four events. The women’s -49kg had one of the biggest surprises in the tournament as Cape Verde’s Maria Andrade grabbed one of the two spots. Her path was quite difficult as she had to go defeat African Games silver medalist (-46kg) Fadia Farhani of Tunisia 4-1. The second quota went to Congo DR’s Rosa Keleku as she defeated Ethiopia’s Nardos Chifra 6-3 in the semi-finals. Keleku defeated Andrade 3-2 to win the tournament. Both of these nations will be making their Olympic debut in taekwondo.

The men’s -58kg also had a large upset as African Games gold medalist Romain Trolliet was defeated in the quarter-finals by judge’s decision against Lesotho’s Marumo Moloisane after the match was tied 2-2. Moloisane failed to grab the Olympic quota as he lost subsequently to Morocco’s Omar Hajjami 3-0. The second Olympic spot went to Libya’s Yousef Shriha as he defeated Ethiopia’s Sisay Baykedagne 8-5. Hajjami won the tournament defeating Shriha 6-3.

There were no upsets in the women’s -67kg as both Seham El-Sawalhy of Egypt and Cote d’Ivoire’s Ruth Gbagbi repeated their performance from 2012 and qualified to the Olympics. Gbagbi went all out in the final and defeated El-Sawalhy 10-4 to win the event.

The first quota of the men’s +80kg was won by African Games +87kg gold medalist Abdoul-Razak Issoufou of Niger whom defeated former Olympian Daba Keita of Mali and +87kg 2015 World silver medalist Firmin Zokou of Cote d’Ivoire 2-1 and 10-9 respectively. The second spot went to Tunisia’s Yassine Trabelsi whom defeated Central African Republic Remy Alazoula 6-1 in the semi-finals. Trabelsi defeated Issoufou 1-0 to win the tournament.

On the second day in the women’s +67kg it was 2012 Olympian Wiam Dislam of Morocco whom secured the first quota by defeating Nigeria’s Uzoamaka Otuadinma. The second spot went to fellow finalist Mamina Kone of Cote d’Ivoire whom defeated Aminata Doumbia of Mali. The tournament title went to Kone as she defeated Dislam.

In the men’s -68kg the referee had to stop the fight between Senegal’s Balla Dieye against Nigeria’s Edwin Samson due to a hard kick to the head. This gave Dieye a spot in the final and an Olympic quota. The second quota went to 2015 African Games champion Ghofan Zaki of Egypt whom defeated 2012 Olympian David Boui of Central African Republic 7-1. Zaki won the tournament over Dieye in a close 2-1 encounter.

The biggest upset of the day occurred in the women’s -57kg where top seed Bineta Diedhiou was defeated in the quarter-finals by Morocco’s Hakima El-Meslahy. El-Meslahy would go on to reach the finals and obtain a quota for her nation by defeating Chinazum Mwosu of Nigeria. The other semi-final was between Tunisia’s Rahma Ben Ali and Ghana’s Danielle Pelham. Ben Ali won the match and reached the final. The final was a very defensive encounter and the match was judged by the judges after the match ended in a 1-1 draw. El-Meslahy was declared the victor.

The first Olympic quota in the men’s -80kg went to Tunisia’s Oussama Oueslati as he easily defeated Senegal’s Gorome Kare 16-6. The second quota was won by 2015 World bronze medalist in the -74kg category Ismael Coulibaly of Mali whom defeated 2014 Youth Olympic bronze medalist Seif Eissa of Egypt 8-3. The title went to Oueslati as he defeated Coulibaly 2-0 for the title.

This was the final opportunity for African nations to qualify in taekwondo. The remaining spots will be filled by athletes from Oceania, Pan America and Asia over the coming weeks.

 

Quotas by Nations

  • Morocco – 3
  • Tunisia – 3
  • Egypt – 2
  • Ivory Coast – 2
  • Cape Verde – 1
  • Congo DR – 1
  • Libya – 1
  • Mali – 1
  • Niger – 1
  • Senegal – 1

 

References

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