Stars of the weights

Inas Mazhar , Tuesday 13 Feb 2024

Egypt dominated the 2024 African Weightlifting Championships with 43 medals, reports Inas Mazhar



Hosts Egypt took the championship by storm as they amassed the most medals at the one-week event held from 2-10 February in Ismailia, Egypt. Egypt won 26 gold, 12 silver and five bronze medals. Tunisia finished second with four golds.

Seventeen Egyptians in various weight categories brought the goods home: Karim Kahla (three gold); Abdel-Rahman Younes (three gold); Abdel-Hay Ragab (three gold); Sara Samir (three gold); Fatmah Sadek (three gold); Halima Abdel-Azim (three gold); Naema Said (three gold); Abdel-Rahman Wahid (two gold, one silver); Yasser Osman (two gold, one silver); Mohamed Hosni (one gold, two silver); Amira Abdel-Rahman (three silver); Nour Zaki (two silver, one bronze); Nedal Mohamed (one silver, two bronze); Ahmed Said (two silver); Samar Habashi (one silver); and Shams Ahmed (one bronze).

According to the African Weightlifting Federation, Egypt’s Karim Abo Kahla, the 2023 world champion in the 96kg category, and Sara Samir, the 2016 Olympic Games bronze medalist, were the superstars of the competition. They were both hugely supported by the home fans, who were keen to attend the events.

Abo Kahla competed in the -89 kg Olympic category and became African champion with an impressive total of 381 kg (170+211). The victory took Abo Kahla to seventh place in the International Weightlifting Federation’s Olympic rankings, ahead of Italy’s Antonio Pizzolato and Armenia’s Adnanik Karapetyan, and almost guaranteed himself a place at Paris 2024.

According to the collective results of Abo Kahla, he could have won every weight category in Ismailia, as Algeria’s Walid Bidani broke his own record in the men’s super-heavyweight snatch with 223kg but failed all three attempts at 222kg in the clean and jerk and couldn’t get a total. Morocco’s Boumar Bilal took the title in the +109kg weight category with a total of 337kg.

Egyptian women had their impressive share with medals from Neama Said (-76kg), the 2016 Olympic bronze medalist Sara Samir (-81kg), Fatma Ahmed (-87kg), and Halima Abbas (+87kg). There were other winners from Africa: Nadia Katbi (Algire, -45kg), Rosina Randafiarison (Madagascar, -49kg), Eya Aoudi (Tunisia, -55kg), Lawal Rafiaru (Nigeria, -59kg), Rahmouni Chaima (Tunisia, -64kg), Joy Eze Ogbonne (Nigeria, -71kg).

Egypt’s Minister of Youth and Sports Ashraf Sobhi attended some of the events, promising the qualifiers to provide them with all the support needed for their preparations for the Olympics Games scheduled for July.

Altogether, 19 African nations participated in the championship, a qualifier for the Paris Games.

* A version of this article appears in print in the 15 February, 2024 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly

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