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Tunisian women strong at African Championships in Tunis

8 Apr 2016 20:50

   African Judo Union

After one day of judo at the African Championships Tunisia rewarded the fans with an efficient three gold medals of a total of 8 medals. More medals on the first day compared to last year, but one gold less. Most of the weight categories had the dream final with the biggest rivals.

The category for women U78kg was actually the most surprising of the day with gold for Cameroon’s Hortence Vanessa Mballa Atangana, the world’s number 33 on the IJF World Ranking. She took the gold in the final against Sarra Mzougui of Tunisia, who is ranked 36. The top four was the same as last year but the bronze medallists of last year, now celebrated their improvement to silver and gold. Sarah Myriam Mazouz (GAB) and last year’s winner Kaouthar Ouallal (ALG) now won bronze.

For the fifth time and fourth time at African Championships Tunisia dominates the heavyweight categories. Legendary Nihel Cheikh Rouhou was the favourite in advance for the women's +78kg title and she won her 17th African title including African Games and obviously she has won both plus and open titles, still it is a miracle and Cheikh Rouhou may climb higher than her current 8th World Ranking.

It was actually Tunisia that closed but also opened the gold medals as in the women U63kg Meriem Bjaoui set the golden tone, a huge surprise. Bjaoui (WRL-73) won her pool and defeated last year’s runner-up Imene Agouar (ALG) in the semi. She bested Rizlen Zouak, Africa’s best seeded woman (WRL-14). Suddenly 19-year old Bjaoui comes close to qualification with her tremendous jump as she hardly loses points from last year’s fifth place.

It was Moroccan Assmaa Niang, another legend, who captured the title U70kg. She was also champion in 2013 but won bronze in 2014 and silver last year in Libreville. In today’s final Niang  finished the match against Houda Miled by ippon. Miled is her nemesis but Niang made the head2head 4-3 in official events.

On Saturday the categories for women: U48, U52, U57 and Open category are scheduled.

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  • Nihel Cheikh Rouhou (TUN), Sonia Asselah (ALG), Monica Sagna (SEN), Nadine Wetie Diodjo (CMR) - African Championships Tunis (2016, TUN) - © African Judo Union
  • Hortence Vanessa Mballa Atangana (CMR), Sarra Mzougui (TUN), Sarah Myriam Mazouz (GAB), Kaouthar Ouallal (ALG) - African Championships Tunis (2016, TUN) - © African Judo Union
  • Assmaa Niang (MAR), Houda Miled (TUN), Antónia Moreira (ANG), Amina Belkadi (ALG) - African Championships Tunis (2016, TUN) - © African Judo Union

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