Following two postponements due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the African Judo Championships finally took place over the weekend in the Madagascan capital of Antananarivo.
This year’s championships featured exclusively senior competitors, with the cadet, junior and kata contests having been cancelled owing to the organisational challenges caused by the pandemic. However, the event still attracted 126 judoka from 32 countries across the African continent. Following months of uncertainty, the judoka were grateful for this opportunity to test themselves against the best in the region with an Olympic year just around the corner.
In the event, Egypt put in a dominant performance in the men’s competitions, the country’s judoka claiming gold medals in all but the lightest and heaviest categories.
The under-66 kilogram and under-81 kilogram tournaments both featured all-Egyptian finals. In the former category, Mohamed Abdelmawgoud defeated compatriot Ahmed Abelrahman to win the African title for the third time in his career.
In the under-81 kilogram tournament, reigning champion Mohamed Abdelaal fell at the final hurdle in his efforts to retain his title. Having triumphed at last year’s championships in South Africa, Abdelaal lost in the final in Madagascar to fellow countryman Abdelrahman Mohamed.
Two 2019 winners who did manage to successfully hold onto their titles were Mbagnick Ndiaye of Senegal (+100 kg) and Hatem Abd el Akher of Egypt (-90 kg). Meanwhile, Egypt’s Ramadan Darwish upgraded the silver medal that he had won in South Africa to a gold in the under-100 kilogram category.
There was more joy for Egypt in the men's under-73 kilogram tournament, as Mohamed Mohyeldin took home gold. However, the country’s stronghold was broken in the under-60 kilogram contest, where Fraj Dhouibi claimed Tunisia’s only gold medal of the championships.