Morocco and Tunisia both performed strong by taking two gold medals each at the first day of the African Championships in Dakar. Lightweights Issam Bassou and Soumiya Iraoui gave their country Morocco the lead in the medal table with in total five medals. Tunisia follows because of the gold for Oumaima Bedioui and Ghofran Khelifi. It will give the winners more confidence towards the World Championships in Budapest in June. Egypt claimed the gold U66kg by Ahmed Abdelrahman.
Although Tunisia was expected to be strong at the first day both girls came out well under the pressure. It was a tough championships opening day. U48kg Tunisia had two participants on the podium, as Oumaima Bedioui won gold against Priscilla Morand (MRI) in the final and the bronze was Moroccan Chaimae Eddinari and Rania Harboui who lost to Morand but won bronze afterall. Amazing performance and good cooperation with former World Champion and coach Anis Lounifi.
U57kg Ghofran Khelifi resisted the pressure and was happy to regain the gold medal again, her fourth while being just 22. The Tunisian student defeated South African Donne Breytenbach in the final and won her three contests by ippon. Khelifi was relieved that she won gold coming out of the Ramadan, could not train well but eventually was able to keep her concentration for this important qualifier.
Soumiya Iraoui took gold for Morocco U52kg in the final against Salimata Fofana (CIV). She had won gold in 2018 before but finally took her gold back after three lost finals at previous African Championships and Games. There was a second gold medal for Issam Bassou who claimed his third African title. A new generation is coming up with steady performers. Bassou overcame 18 year old Egyptian junior Youssry Samy in the final in a field of 21 men, also precious medal fir Egypt. Multiple winner Fraj Dhouibi (TUN) lost in the quarterfinal to Samy and was sent to the repechage where he lost the bronze contest to Younes Saddiki (MAR). Morocco outperformed today in Dakar.
The category U66kg had a strong field with 25 men, Egypt came out as the expected winner as Ahmed Abderahman resisted Wail Ezzine a surprising finalist from Algeria. Egypt has dominated this weight category for the fourth time in a row. Despite the absence of Mohamed Abdelmawgoud, Abderahman kept up the honours for the Egyptians. Host nations Senegal remained with empty hands, but will have better chances on the third day.