Egypt claims GR title despite Algeria fightback
Saturday, May 21, 2022 - 22:20 By Vinay Siwach
EL JADIDA, Morocco (May 21) -- Algeria's spirited fightback ended in heartbreak as Egypt claimed the Greco-Roman team title by two points.
Egypt had 205 points while Algeria finished with 203. Hosts Morocco finished third with 134 points despite not winning any gold.
Out of the 10 weights, Egypt and Algeria faced each other in five finals. The two nations were equal on team points in eight weight classes having claimed four gold, two silver and two bronze medals for 170 points.
Algeria claimed an extra gold than Egypt to lead by five points and yet lost due to an eight-point finish to Egypt's 15 at 77kg. Emad ABOUELATTA (EGY) defeated Tarek BENAISSA (ALG) 3-1 in the 77kg quarterfinal and as the Egypt wrestler lost his semifinal, Benaissa contributed only eight points while Abouelatta managed to win bronze for 15 points.
Emotions ran high between the two camps at the African Championships in El Jadida and the five head-to-head finals between Egypt and Algeria produced high-flying action. One such bout was the 60kg final which kept the fans on the edge of their seats.
Last year's African champion at 63kg Abdeldjebar DJEBBARI (ALG) stunned Ahmed BAGHDOUDA (EGY) with a late takedown in the 60kg final. Trailing 8-8 on criteria, he got Baghdouda's back to the mat to get two points.
The bout began with the Egypt wrestler getting the par terre advantage. He scored four points from the position before Djebbari added a late point as the first period ended 5-1 for Baghdouda.
When Djebbari got the par terre position in the second period, he gave up a reversal and another two points. He managed to score two points for himself as well but trailed 8-4. He then added six answered points against a tiring Baghdouda to clinch the gold medal.
Algeria's other gold medals came at 63kg, 82kg, 87kg and 97kg.
Tokyo Olympian at 60kg Abdelkarim FERGAT (ALG) had little trouble winning his fourth African title as Moustafa ALAMELDIN (EGY) had to contend with a second silver in three days. He lost the 63kg final 7-3. Fergat had finished 13th at the Olympics and has three continental titles at 55kg.
In two Algeria-Tunisia finals, 77kg defending champion Abd OUAKALI (ALG) moved up to 82kg this year and claimed his second African title by beating Hakim TRABELSI (TUN) 4-0 in the final.
Ouakali was once a promising wrestler for Algeria before a doping offense so saw getting banned from 2014 to 2018. He returned in 2019 and claimed the silver medal at the African Championships before winning the title in 2020.
Bachir SID AZARA (ALG) won his third African Championships title after a close 2-1 win over Mohamed MISSAOUI (TUN) in the 87kg final.
Sid Azara, who finished 7th at the Tokyo Games, gained a 2-0 lead in the period. He gave up a passivity point in the second period but Missaoui could not take advantage from par terre.
Algeria's final gold came at 97kg, another weight class where the final saw wrestler from Algeria and Eygpt. Two-time Olympian Adem BOUDJEMLINE (ALG) overcame Mohamed GABR (EGY), 5-1, in a repeat of the '19 African final. The win propelled Algeria to the team title. The 97kg gold was the was Boudjemline's fifth African title.
Egypt had its fair share of success in such finals beginning with 55kg.
Abdalla SHAABAN (EGY) claimed two gold medals in three days. He won the U20 title Thursday and added the senior title Saturday after remaining undefeated in the five-man bracket. His toughest competitor was the U20 African champion and another young star Mohamed DRIDI (ALG) but he won the Round 3 bout 1-1.
Abdelrahman OMAR (EGY), 19, scored five points in the first period and managed to comfortably beat Ishak GHAIOU (ALG) for the 67kg title. Ghaiou finished with a silver medal for a second straight year at 67kg. In 2020, Mohammed EL SAYED (EGY) ended his hopes of becoming the African champion and now it was a young star from the country.
Mohamed KHALIL (EGY) dropped to 72kg from 77kg and claimed his first African title after beating Radhwen TARHOUNI (TUN) in a frantic final. The two went off from the start and scored six points each in the first period. Tarhouni attacked first and the sequence resulted in two points for each wrestler. But at the break, Tarhouni led 6-6 on criteria as he hit a four-pointer. Khalil got a point for reversal and later added a takedown before the break. The second period saw only one action in which Khalil banked on a four-point move and scored as well which gave him the win.
At 130kg, Abdellatif MOHAMED (EGY) once again defeated Amine GUENNICHI (TUN) to win the 130kg title. For the last three years, the Tokyo Olympians have developed a rivalry but Guennichi is yet to win a bout over Mohamed.
He came close Saturday after getting a roll from par terre to lead 3-1 at the break in the Round 1 bout. But Mohamed scored three points in the second period, including one for Guennichi's passivity, to win 4-3.
Both wrestlers had no trouble winning their remaining matches as Mohamed, a former U23 World medalist, won the gold while the Tunisian finished with silver.
The lone gold medal which did not go to either Algeria or Egypt was the 77kg gold. Tunisia's Olympic representative in Tokyo Lamjed MAAFI (TUN) won the gold medal at 77kg after thrashing Aziz BOUALEM (MAR) 10-0 in the final. He had earlier defeated Emad ABOUELATTA (EGY) in the semifinal.
Abouelatta, a U20 Worlds fifth-placer, could not match Maafi's strength. Maafi scored a takedown in the first 10 seconds of the bout and added three points from stepouts to claim a 5-1 in the semifinal.
The African Championships will see freestyle action in all 10 weight classes Sunday.
GOLD: Abdalla SHAABAN (EGY)
SILVER: Mohamed DRIDI (ALG)
BRONZE: Rabby KILANDI (COD)
Key match: Abdalla SHAABAN (EGY) df. Mohamed DRIDI (ALG), 1-1 (Round 3)
GOLD: Abdeldjebar DJEBBARI (ALG) df. Ahmed BAGHDOUDA (EGY), 10-8
BRONZE: Salim HAMDI (TUN) df. Aymane LAKHFIF (MAR), 8-0
GOLD: Abdelkarim FERGAT (ALG) df. Moustafa ALAMELDIN (EGY), 7-3
BRONZE: Fouad FAJARI (MAR) df. Hamed TCHOUFON (RSA), 9-0
GOLD: Abdelrahman OMAR (EGY) df. Ishak GHAIOU (ALG), 6-1
BRONZE: Bilal EL BAHJA (MAR) df. Jason AFRIKANER(NAM), 10-1
GOLD: Mohamed KHALIL (EGY) df. Radhwen TARHOUNI (TUN), 10-6
BRONZE: Khalid AMAGHDOUR (MAR) df. Reangan NDOMBASI (COD), 4-0
BRONZE: Walid GHAIOU (ALG) df. Shafaihuuna BENHARD (NAM), 5-1
GOLD: Lamjed MAAFI (TUN) df. Aziz BOUALEM (MAR), 10-0
BRONZE: Jean ATONGUI (CGO) df. Brian OLOO (KEN), 8-0
BRONZE: Emad ABOUELATTA (EGY) df. Redy MUPOMPA (COD), 8-0
GOLD: Abd OUAKALI (ALG) df. Hakim TRABELSI (TUN), 4-0
BRONZE: Fares GHALY (EGY) df. Mohamed FAIQ (MAR), 8-0
GOLD: Bachir SID AZARA (ALG) df. Mohamed MISSAOUI (TUN), 2-1
BRONZE: Barthelemy TSHOSHA (COD) df. Edward LESSING (RSA), 10-7
BRONZE: Noureldin HASSAN (EGY) df. Guma BASHIR (SUD), 10-0
GOLD: Adem BOUDJEMLINE (ALG) df Mohamed GABR (EGY), 5-1
BRONZE: Oussama ASSAD (MAR) df. Aron MBO (COD), 16-12
GOLD: Abdellatif MOHAMED (EGY)
SILVER: Amine GUENNICHI (TUN)
BRONZE: Hichem KOUCHIT (ALG)
Key match: Abdellatif MOHAMED (EGY) df. Amine GUENNICHI (TUN), 4-3 (Round 1)