Egypt rides on four golds to win African Championships title

By Vinay Siwach

EL JADIDA, Morocco (May 22) -- For a second straight day, Egypt and Algeria were involved in a thrilling team title race at the African Championships.

Egypt, after winning the Greco-Roman team title Saturday by one point, pipped Algeria for the freestyle team title as the continental championships came to a close in El Jadida.

Egypt finished with 195 points to finish at the top while Algeria had 178 points. South Africa finished with 93 points to claim the third position.

The two nations were tied for gold medals at four apiece but wrestlers from Egypt reached the medal bout in all 10 weight classes while Algeria finished the opportunity at 57kg and had no entry in 125kg which hurt them the most.

Mostafa ELDERS (EGY)Mostafa ELDERS (EGY) won the 97kg gold medal. (Photo: UWW / Bayrem Ben Mrad)

In a crucial gold medal bout, Mostafa ELDERS (EGY) defeated U20 world bronze medalist Nicolaas DE LANGE (RSA) 7-0 at 97kg despite starting as the underdog.

De Lange was expected to win his first gold at African Championships but Elders had different ideas. He began with a quick takedown and roll to lead 4-0. De Lange went for Elders' leg on multiple occasions but could not finish a single move. The Egypt wrestler led 5-0 at the break.

Elders shifted to defense in the second period and De Lange found it extremely difficult to score. He was for fleeing during a stepout which gave a tiring Elders two more points. He managed to play out the remaining time on the clock to seal the team title for Egypt.

In another high-stake final, Tokyo Olympian Amr Reda RAMADAN (EGY) clinched his second African title by winning the gold medal at 74kg. In a bout he was expected to win comfortably, Ramadan trailed junior African champion Adelkader IKKAL (ALG) 5-1 after two minutes. 

Ikkal tried to shoot for Ramadan's legs numerous times in the second period but ended up giving up points which proved to be his undoing. Ramadan scored eight straight points on counters to win 9-5.

At 125kg, Youssif HEMIDA (EGY) made a mockery of his competition in the nordic bracket. With only three wrestlers entered, Hemida scored 11-0 wins over Anas LAMKABBER (MAR) and Hamza RAHMANI (TUN) to clinch the gold medal.

The former U23 World silver medalist, who trains in the USA, showed the gulf in the class in wrestling as Lamkabber and Rahmani looked out of sorts on the mat.

The fourth gold for Egypt came at 57kg as Gamal MOHAMED (EGY) held off Ebikewenimo WELSON (NGR), 5-0 in the final. In a controlled bout, Mohamed got the first point for Welson's passivity to lead 1-0 at the break.

He scored a takedown in the second period and wait for the clock to expire while fending off Welson's attacks. He got another takedown at the end off a desperate attack by Welson.

For Algeria, Tokyo Olympian Fateh BENFERDJALLAH (ALG) won his first senior African gold medal with a 6-2 win over Mahmoud BADAWI (EGY). He scored all of his six points in the first period while giving up two in the second.

The 21-year-old continues to improve at the senior level after qualifying Algeria for the Tokyo Olympics last year. The top seed in El Jadida began the tournament with an 11-0 win before pinning Edward LESSING (RSA) in the semifinal.

Mohammed FARDJ (ALG)Mohammed FARDJ (ALG) defended his 92kg gold at the African Championships. (Photo: UWW / Bayrem Ben Mrad)

Another Olympian who won the gold for Algeria was Mohammed FARDJ (ALG). Unlike Benferdjallah, Fardj displayed a dominating performance in the 92kg final against Imed KADDIDI (TUN). He won 11-0 to defend his title.

He outscored his opponents 34-0 over three bouts in what was a stunning performance throughout the day.

The fourth gold medal for Algeria was won by Chems FETAIRIA (ALG) who defeated Youssef AIT BOULAHRI (MAR), 13-3 in the 79kg final to win his first African title.

A trip and gut wrench gave Fetairia four points but Boulahri also got two for holding Fetairia in danger in the same sequence as the score read 4-3. But Fetairia launched a suplex in the first period for four before a match ending four-pointer in the second period.

79kg was also the weight where Mauritius won their first freestyle medal in 20 years. Jean STE MARIE (MRI), who lost to Boulahri 14-12 in the semifinal, defeated Donald MABUSELA (RSA), 12-2 in the bronze medal bout to end his country's 22-year wait for a freestyle medal.

The remaining two gold medals were captured by Guinea-Bissau as Mbunde CUMBA MBALI (GBS) claimed the 65kg title while Bacar NDUM (GBS) won the gold at 70kg by defeated Algerian opponents.

In the 65kg final, defending champion Cumba Mbali scored three points in the first period against Chouaib SAHRAOUI (ALG) and went into a shell. He was warned for passivity but that only cost him one point. He hung on for a 3-1 win and his third straight African Championships title.

Ndum was more dominant as he defeated Rami BRINIS (ALG), 9-0 in the 70kg final to become a first-time African champion.

Ndum's run in El Jadida included two technical superiority wins in the quarterfinal and semifinal before he maintained the clean slate in the final as well.

Another star from the country, Tokyo Olympian Diamantino IUNA FAFE (GBS) suffered a heartbreaking 2-1 loss to Welson in the 57kg semifinal. But he bounced back to claim the bronze medal with a 10-0 win over Rabby KILANDI (COD).

Freestyle Results

GOLD: Gamal MOHAMED (EGY) df. Ebikewenimo WELSON (NGR), 5-0 

BRONZE: Omar FAYE (SEN) df. Jakobo TAU (RSA), 18-11
BRONZE: Diamantino IUNA FAFE (GBS) df. Rabby KILANDI (COD), 10-0

GOLD: Abdelhak KHERBACHE (ALG) df. Shehabeldin MOHAMED (EGY), 3-0 

BRONZE: Sofiane EL KHAMER (MAR) df. Jordan Ngalula KABONGO (COD), 10-0
BRONZE: Awene DIATTA (SEN) df. Kenneth KOECH (KEN), 10-0 

GOLD: Mbunde CUMBA MBALI (GBS) df. Chouaib SAHRAOUI (ALG), 3-1

BRONZE: Yehia HAFEZ (EGY) df. Jason AFRIKANER (NAM), 4-3

GOLD: Bacar NDUM (GBS) df. Rami BRINIS (ALG), 9-0

BRONZE: Mohamed ZORGUI (TUN) df. Anthony WESLEY (CPV), 11-0
BRONZE: Said ELGAHSH (EGY) df. Guy LAGO (CIV), 2-1

GOLD: Amr HUSSEN (EGY) df. Abdelkader IKKAL (ALG), 9-5

BRONZE: Arno VAN ZIJL (RSA) df. Mamadou DIOUF (SEN), 2-0
BRONZE: Ogbonna JOHN (NGR) df. Brian OLOO (KEN), 10-0 

GOLD: Chems FETAIRIA (ALG) df. Youssef AIT BOULAHRI (MAR), 13-3

BRONZE: Jean STE MARIE (MRI) df. Donald MABUSELA (RSA), 12-2
BRONZE: Andy MUKENDI (COD) df. Karim ELDOBAY (EGY), 12-6


BRONZE: Ekerekeme AGIOMOR (NGR) df. Sabri MNASRIA (TUN), 9-0
BRONZE: Edward LESSING (RSA) df. Barthelemy TSHOSHA (COD), 8-1

GOLD: Mohammed FARDJ (ALG) df. Imed KADDIDI (TUN), 11-0

BRONZE: Machiel GROBLER (RSA) df. Timothee TOE (BUR), via forfeit
BRONZE: Noureldin HASSAN (EGY) df. Ahmed SEREHALI (MAR) , 10-0

GOLD: Mostafa ELDERS (EGY) df. Nicolaas DE LANGE (RSA) , 7-0

BRONZE: Ulrich MANOUAN (CIV) df. John FOLANE (BUR), via forfeit
BRONZE: Mohamed SAADAOUI (TUN) df. Abderrahmane BENACHA (ALG), 10-0


Key match: Youssif HEMIDA (EGY) df. Anas LAMKABBER (MAR), 11-0 (Round 2)


Egypt claims GR title despite Algeria fightback

By Vinay Siwach

EL JADIDA, Morocco (May 21) -- Algeria's spirited fightback ended in heartbreak as Egypt claimed the Greco-Roman team title by two points.

Egypt had 205 points while Algeria finished with 203. Hosts Morocco finished third with 134 points despite not winning any gold.

Out of the 10 weights, Egypt and Algeria faced each other in five finals. The two nations were equal on team points in eight weight classes having claimed four gold, two silver and two bronze medals for 170 points.

Algeria claimed an extra gold than Egypt to lead by five points and yet lost due to an eight-point finish to Egypt's 15 at 77kg. Emad ABOUELATTA (EGY) defeated Tarek BENAISSA (ALG) 3-1 in the 77kg quarterfinal and as the Egypt wrestler lost his semifinal, Benaissa contributed only eight points while Abouelatta managed to win bronze for 15 points.

Emotions ran high between the two camps at the African Championships in El Jadida and the five head-to-head finals between Egypt and Algeria produced high-flying action. One such bout was the 60kg final which kept the fans on the edge of their seats.

Last year's African champion at 63kg Abdeldjebar DJEBBARI (ALG) stunned Ahmed BAGHDOUDA (EGY) with a late takedown in the 60kg final. Trailing 8-8 on criteria, he got Baghdouda's back to the mat to get two points.

The bout began with the Egypt wrestler getting the par terre advantage. He scored four points from the position before Djebbari added a late point as the first period ended 5-1 for Baghdouda.

When Djebbari got the par terre position in the second period, he gave up a reversal and another two points. He managed to score two points for himself as well but trailed 8-4. He then added six answered points against a tiring Baghdouda to clinch the gold medal.

Algeria's other gold medals came at 63kg, 82kg, 87kg and 97kg.

Tokyo Olympian at 60kg Abdelkarim FERGAT (ALG) had little trouble winning his fourth African title as Moustafa ALAMELDIN (EGY) had to contend with a second silver in three days. He lost the 63kg final 7-3. Fergat had finished 13th at the Olympics and has three continental titles at 55kg.

In two Algeria-Tunisia finals, 77kg defending champion Abd OUAKALI (ALG) moved up to 82kg this year and claimed his second African title by beating Hakim TRABELSI (TUN) 4-0 in the final.

Ouakali was once a promising wrestler for Algeria before a doping offense so saw getting banned from 2014 to 2018. He returned in 2019 and claimed the silver medal at the African Championships before winning the title in 2020.

Bachir SID AZARA (ALG) won his third African Championships title after a close 2-1 win over Mohamed MISSAOUI (TUN) in the 87kg final.

Sid Azara, who finished 7th at the Tokyo Games, gained a 2-0 lead in the period. He gave up a passivity point in the second period but Missaoui could not take advantage from par terre.

Algeria's final gold came at 97kg, another weight class where the final saw wrestler from Algeria and Eygpt. Two-time Olympian Adem BOUDJEMLINE (ALG) overcame Mohamed GABR (EGY), 5-1, in a repeat of the '19 African final. The win propelled Algeria to the team title. The 97kg gold was the was Boudjemline's fifth African title.

Egypt had its fair share of success in such finals beginning with 55kg.

Abdalla SHAABAN (EGY) claimed two gold medals in three days. He won the U20 title Thursday and added the senior title Saturday after remaining undefeated in the five-man bracket. His toughest competitor was the U20 African champion and another young star Mohamed DRIDI (ALG) but he won the Round 3 bout 1-1.

Abdelrahman OMAR (EGY), 19, scored five points in the first period and managed to comfortably beat Ishak GHAIOU (ALG) for the 67kg title. Ghaiou finished with a silver medal for a second straight year at 67kg. In 2020, Mohammed EL SAYED (EGY) ended his hopes of becoming the African champion and now it was a young star from the country.

Mohamed KHALIL (EGY) dropped to 72kg from 77kg and claimed his first African title after beating Radhwen TARHOUNI (TUN) in a frantic final. The two went off from the start and scored six points each in the first period. Tarhouni attacked first and the sequence resulted in two points for each wrestler. But at the break, Tarhouni led 6-6 on criteria as he hit a four-pointer. Khalil got a point for reversal and later added a takedown before the break. The second period saw only one action in which Khalil banked on a four-point move and scored as well which gave him the win.

At 130kg, Abdellatif MOHAMED (EGY) once again defeated Amine GUENNICHI (TUN) to win the 130kg title. For the last three years, the Tokyo Olympians have developed a rivalry but Guennichi is yet to win a bout over Mohamed.

He came close Saturday after getting a roll from par terre to lead 3-1 at the break in the Round 1 bout. But Mohamed scored three points in the second period, including one for Guennichi's passivity, to win 4-3.

Both wrestlers had no trouble winning their remaining matches as Mohamed, a former U23 World medalist, won the gold while the Tunisian finished with silver.

The lone gold medal which did not go to either Algeria or Egypt was the 77kg gold. Tunisia's Olympic representative in Tokyo Lamjed MAAFI (TUN) won the gold medal at 77kg after thrashing Aziz BOUALEM (MAR) 10-0 in the final. He had earlier defeated Emad ABOUELATTA (EGY) in the semifinal.

Abouelatta, a U20 Worlds fifth-placer, could not match Maafi's strength. Maafi scored a takedown in the first 10 seconds of the bout and added three points from stepouts to claim a 5-1 in the semifinal.

The African Championships will see freestyle action in all 10 weight classes Sunday.

GR Results


Key match: Abdalla SHAABAN (EGY) df. Mohamed DRIDI (ALG), 1-1 (Round 3) 

GOLD: Abdeldjebar DJEBBARI (ALG) df. Ahmed BAGHDOUDA (EGY), 10-8

BRONZE: Salim HAMDI (TUN) df. Aymane LAKHFIF (MAR), 8-0 

GOLD: Abdelkarim FERGAT (ALG) df. Moustafa ALAMELDIN (EGY), 7-3

BRONZE: Fouad FAJARI (MAR) df. Hamed TCHOUFON (RSA), 9-0 

GOLD: Abdelrahman OMAR (EGY) df. Ishak GHAIOU (ALG), 6-1


GOLD: Mohamed KHALIL (EGY) df. Radhwen TARHOUNI (TUN), 10-6

BRONZE: Khalid AMAGHDOUR (MAR) df. Reangan NDOMBASI (COD), 4-0 
BRONZE: Walid GHAIOU (ALG) df. Shafaihuuna BENHARD (NAM), 5-1

GOLD:  Lamjed MAAFI (TUN) df. Aziz BOUALEM (MAR), 10-0

BRONZE:  Jean ATONGUI (CGO) df. Brian OLOO (KEN), 8-0


BRONZE: Fares GHALY (EGY) df. Mohamed FAIQ (MAR), 8-0 

GOLD: Bachir SID AZARA (ALG) df. Mohamed MISSAOUI (TUN), 2-1

BRONZE: Barthelemy TSHOSHA (COD) df. Edward LESSING (RSA), 10-7 
BRONZE: Noureldin HASSAN (EGY) df. Guma BASHIR (SUD), 10-0

GOLD: Adem BOUDJEMLINE (ALG) df Mohamed GABR (EGY), 5-1

BRONZE: Oussama ASSAD (MAR) df. Aron MBO (COD), 16-12

GOLD: Abdellatif MOHAMED (EGY)

Key match: Abdellatif MOHAMED (EGY) df. Amine GUENNICHI (TUN), 4-3 (Round 1)