#WrestleAlexandria, #WrestleParis

Samoa, Australia, South Africa end Olympic drought with Paris spots in Alexandria

By Vinay Siwach

ALEXANDRIA, Egypt (March 24) -- Seven nations shared the 12 Paris Olympics Freestyle quotas on the final day of the African & Oceania OG Qualifiers in Alexandria.

Hosts Egypt led the way with four quotas while Australia and Guinea Bissau won two each. Samoa, Algeria, South Africa and Nigeria won one each to complete the line-up.

Samoa qualified for the first time in Freestyle as Gaku AKAZAWA (SAM) dominated his bouts to win the quota. Paris will also mark the first Samoan wrestler at the Olympics since Sydney 2000. Akazawa, a former Japanese high school star who moved to Samoa in 2017, defeated Wotna NDOC (GBS) via fall in the first period of the 65kg semifinal.

Georgii OKOROKOV (AUS) also ended an eight-year wait for Australia as he qualified at 65kg after winning the other semifinal. He defeated Manaceu NGONDA (ANG) 10-0.

A little later, Jayden LAWRENCE (AUS) earned a Paris quota at 86kg with a thrilling 4-4 win over Harrison ONOVWIOMOGBOHWO (NGR) in the semifinals. 

Onovwiomogbowho scored a takedown, earned another point for Lawrence's passivity and added a stepout to build a 4-0 lead in the semifinal. Lawrence put all his energy into scoring a takedown in the second period but found it difficult. He ultimately hit a cut back which made Onovwiomogbohwo fall on his back, giving Lawrence four points.

Lawrence kept his 4-4 criteria lead for the final two minutes and earned a Paris 2024 quota.

Tokyo Olympian Fateh BENFERDJALLAH (ALG) joined him as the qualified wrestler for Paris as he defeated Cedric ABOSSOLO (CMR) 7-0 and won the ticket.

South Africa will also be back in the Olympics after 16 years Nicholas de LANGE (RSA) qualified the country at 97kg after he defeated Mohamed SAADAOUI (TUN)via fall. The former U20 world medalist convincingly won both bouts.

Mostafa ELDERS (EGY) was surprised by Wali KEBIR (ALG) who scored three points on Elders but the Egyptian never lost his cool and posted an easy 15-3 victory.

Egypt qualified three more weight classes, 57kg, 74kg and 125kg, with Amr REDA (EGY) leading from the front. The ever-consistent Reda took just 33 seconds after the first period to win the quota after beating Rayanne ESSAIDI (MAR), 11-0. His previous two wins of the day were via falls.

At 125kg, Diaaeldin ABDELMOTTALEB (EGY) survived a scare to beat Modou FAYE (SEN), 3-3, in the semifinals and qualify for the Games. He got a 1-0 lead after Faye was called passive but no additional points were scored in the first period.

Faye was put on the activity clock again in the second period this time he hit a single-leg attack to takedown. Abdelmottaleb was put on the activity clock late in the bout and failed to score, giving one more point to Faye who now led 3-1 with just over a minute left.

Abdelmottaleb scored a takedown using a go-behind to take a 3-3 criteria lead and defended it for the last 28 seconds to qualify for the Olympics.

Gamal MOHAMED (EGY) did not face any troubles as he won the 57kg place with an easy 8-0 win over KHALIL BARKOUTI (TUN) in the semifinal.

Two of the remaining three spots were captured by Guinea Bissau as Tokyo Olympian Diamantino IUNA FAFE (GBS) won at 57kg, rolling to a 10-0 win over Suraj SINGH (NZL) while 74kg African champion Bacar NDUM (GBS) defeated Oyeinkeperemo BRAVEMAN (NGR), 10-2, in his semifinal.

The second 125kg quota was won by Ashton MUTUWA (NGR) who was involved in a high-scoring bout against Justin VAN ZYL (RSA) before winning via fall.



57kg Paris Olympic Qualification Bouts
SF 1: Diamantino IUNA FAFE (GBS) df. Suraj SINGH (NZL), 10-0

65kg Paris Olympic Qualification Bouts
SF 1: Georgii OKOROKOVV (AUS) df. Manaceu NGONDA (ANG), 10-0
SF 2: Gaku AKAZAWA (SAM) df. Wotna NDOC (GBS), via fall (4-2)

74kg Paris Olympic Qualification Bouts
SF 1: Amr REDA (EGY) df. Rayanne ESSAIDI (MAR), 11-0
SF 2: Bacar NDUM (GBS) df. Oyeinkeperemo BRAVEMAN (NGR), 10-2

86kg Paris Olympic Qualification Bouts
SF 1: Fateh BENFERDJALLAH (ALG) df. Cedric ABOSSOLO (CMR), 7-0
SF 2: Jayden LAWRENCE (AUS) df. Harrison ONOVWIOMOGBOHWO (NGR), 4-4

97kg Paris Olympic Qualification Bouts
SF 1: Nicolaas DE LANGE (RSA) df. Mohamed SAADAOUI (TUN), via fall (5-2)
SF 2: Mostafa ELDERS (EGY) df. Wali KEBIR (ALG), 15-3

125kg Paris Olympic Qualification Bouts
SF 1: Diaaeldin ABDELMOTTALEB (EGY) df. Modou FAYE (SEN), 3-3
SF 2: Ashton MUTUWA (NGR) df. Justin VAN ZYL (RSA), via fall (16-8)

#WrestleAlexandria, #WrestleParis

Sghaier beats Hamza; New Zealand, Algeria earn historic Paris Olympic spots

By Vinay Siwach

ALEXANDRIA, Egypt (March 23) -- For a second consecutive day at the African & Oceania OG Qualifiers in Alexandria, Egypt suffered a heartbreak.

On Friday, Tokyo Olympic bronze medalist Mohamed ELSAYED (EGY) failed to earn a Paris Olympic spot in Greco-Roman. And today, two-time world medalist Samar HAMZA (EGY) suffered a stunning loss in Women's Wrestling to miss out on the Paris spot.

Apart from Hamza, the tournament threw a few other surprises as six nations shared the 12 Paris spots with Nigeria winning the most with four. Algeria, Guam and Tunisia won two each while Egypt and New Zealand got one each. Algeria and New Zealand qualified for the Olympics for the first time in Women's Wrestling.

Zaineb SGHAIER (TUN), an African champion at 72kg and Tokyo Olympian, once again earned her qualification at 76kg. Beating Hamza made it even more special.

Six wrestlers were divided into two groups of three each. Samar HAMZA (EGY) topped her group while Amy YOUIN (CIV) finished second. In the other group, African champion Hannah RUEBEN (NGR) topped the group and Sghaier was second as she had lost to Rueben in the first match.

Hamza and Sghaier faced each other in the semifinal and Sghaier was slow to start before hitting a headlock four-pointer and Hamza could only score two points. In the second period, Sghaier inside-tripped Hamza for two more points. Hamza responded with a four but Sghaier recovered from the throw and held Hamza on the mat for a pin. While it was not confirmed, Hamza was cautioned for fleeing, adding two more points to Sghaier's score.

Hamza got a takedown and on another attempt, Sghaier hit a hip toss and helped Hamza to the mat to secure the fall and earn the Paris spot.

In the other semifinal, Rueben completely blocked Youin to score a 6-0. Rueben's was Nigeri's fifth Paris Olympic quota as Odunayo ADEKOUROYE (NGR) won one at the World Championships.

Nigeria's Tokyo Olympic silver medalist Blessing OBORUDUDU (NGR) showed her class at 68kg again, winning the semifinal against Uilau TARKONG (PLW) via fall in just 24 seconds.

Tayla FORD (NZL)Tayla FORD (NZL) is the first to qualify New Zealand for Olympics in Women's Wrestling. (Photo: UWW / Amirreza Aliasgari)

Tayla FORD (NZL) made sure that New Zealand will have a representative at the Olympics in Women's Wrestling for the first time as she won the spot after pinning Samah ABDELLATIF (EGY) in the other semifinal at 68kg.

The only weight class in which Nigeria is yet to qualify is the 50kg as African champion Miesinnei GENESIS (NGR) suffered a 7-5 loss to Nada MOHAMED (EGY) in the semifinal.

The Rio Olympian led 2-2 at the break and scored a stepout at the start of the second period to lead 3-2. But Nada got a stepout to earn a 3-3 criteria lead. However, that lead was short-lived as Genesis answered with a takedown and led 5-3 with 50 seconds left on the clock. 

Nada scored a stepout with nine seconds remaining and in a dramatic turn of events, she snapped Genesis who pointed out that there was no whistle from the referee to restart. But Nada was awarded the two points which Genesis challenged but lost.

Ibtissem DOUDOU (ALG)Ibtissem DOUDOU (ALG) earned an Olympic quota at 50kg, a first for Algeria. (Photo: UWW / Kadir Caliskan)

In another close semifinal, Ibtissem DOUDOU (ALG) got the better of Chahrazed AYACHI (TUN), 9-6, becoming the first Algeria wrestler to qualify the nation in Women's Wrestling. She led 4-0 using two takedowns before Ayachi scored a reversal and exposure to cut the lead to 4-3.

Doudou had to pay the price for being defensive as Ayachi scored a stepout in the second period and later a go-behind to lead 6-4. Ayachi became defensive soon after and Doudou hit a single leg and elevated Ayachi who fell as Doudou tried making it a double-leg. She was awarded four points, giving her an 8-6 lead with 28 seconds left.

Ayachi tried her options but gave up a stepout as Doudou celebrated earning a spot in the Olympics while Ayachi could not control herself as soon as the match ended.

Tunisia's second quota came in 62kg as Siwar BOUSETA (TUN) dominated Mastoura SOUDANI (ALG) in the semifinal. Her 12-1 win ensured that Tunisia continued its African dominance at the weight even after Marwa AMRI's (TUN) retirement. Amri now coaches the Tunisian team.

The other wrestler to qualify at this weight was African champion Esther KOLAWOLE (NGR) who defeated Angelina RODRIGUES MIRANDA (CPV) 10-0 in just 24 seconds.

Rckaela AQUINO (GUM)Rckaela AQUINO (GUM) after qualifying Guam for the Paris Olympics at 57kg. (Photo: UWW / Amirreza Aliasgari)

Aquino sisters win

The Aquino sisters from Guam, Mia and Rckaela, earned Paris Olympic spots after winning the semifinals at 53kg and 57kg. Mia has wrestled at the Tokyo Olympians but Rckaela will go to her first Olympics.

Both posted contrasting victories in their respective semifinals as Mia pinned Lobna ICHAOUI (TUN) after scoring 11 points and Rckaela managed a close 4-3 win over Faten HAMAMMI (TUN) who scored all her points in the first period.

Rckaela trailed 3-2 at the break and showed some frantic wrestling in the second period which did not threaten Hamammi. However, her constant movement managed to tire Hamammi who gave up a takedown with 20 seconds left. Rckaela needed to defend her 4-3 lead for 10 seconds which she did and won the Paris spot.

Qualifying with Mia at 53kg is African champion Christianah OGUNSANYA (NGR) who rolled to a 10-0 win over Shaimaa MOHAMED (EGY). At 57kg, Chaimaa AOUISSI (ALG) earned the second spot after beating Natacha NABAINA (CMR) 11-8.



50kg Paris Olympic Qualification Bouts
SF 1: Ibtissem DOUDOU (ALG) df. Chahrazed AYACHI (TUN), 9-6
SF 2: Nada MOHAMED (EGY) df. Miesinnei GENESIS (NGR), 7-5

53kg Paris Olympic Qualification Bouts
SF 1: Mia AQUINO (GUM) df. Lobna ICHAOUI (TUN), via fall (11-0)
SF 2: Christianah OGUNSANYA (NGR) df. Shaimaa MOHAMED (EGY), 10-0

57kg Paris Olympic Qualification Bouts
SF 1: Chaimaa AOUISSI (ALG) df. Natacha NABAINA (CMR), 11-8
SF 2: Rckaela AQUINO (GUM) df. Faten HAMMAMI (TUN), 4-3

62kg Paris Olympic Qualification Bouts
SF 1: Siwar BOUSETA (TUN) df. Mastoura SOUDANI (ALG), 12-1
SF 2: Esther KOLAWOLE (NGR) df. Angelina RODRIGUES MIRANDA (CPV), 10-0

68kg Paris Olympic Qualification Bouts
SF1: Tayla FORD (NZL) df. Samah ABDELLATIF (EGY), via fall
SF 2: Blessing OBORUDUDU (NGR) df. Uilau TARKONG (PLW), via fall

76kg Paris Olympic Qualification Bouts
SF 1: Zaineb SGHAIER (TUN) df. Samar HAMZA (EGY), via fall (14-8)
SF 2: Hannah RUEBEN (NGR) df. Amy YOUIN (CIV), 6-0