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Rivals revel
Published in Al-Ahram Weekly on 25 - 04 - 2019

Algeria landed in first place in the 19-nation African Judo Championships, followed by Tunisia, Egypt and hosts South Africa.
In the three-day event in Cape Town, Algerians claimed 13 medals -- four gold, four silver and five bronze, while Tunisia took eight medals, including four gold, one silver and three bronze. Egypt came third with three gold, three silver and four bronze for 10 medals.
During the championship, held from 25 to 27 April, judo fans had the opportunity to enjoy a well-organised competition of the highest level. The judo and the ippons were present and so was the friendship, the fair play and the courtesy between teams that marked this 40th Africa judo tournament.
Before delving into the matches, South Africa delivered a spectacular opening ceremony in Cape Town University Hall. President of the Union African Judo (UAJ) Habib Sissoko was at the ceremony as was president of the South African Judo Federation and representative of Cape Town's City Hall Zaid Badroodien.
The Egyptian harvest of gold medals came from Hatem Abdel-Akher in the -90kg weight category. He beat Algeria's Abderrahmane Benamadi for first place. Teammate Hazem Ali placed fifth.
The second gold went to the African champion of the -81kg weight category Mohamed Abdel-Aal who has been reigning champion of this weight for years. He beat Tunisia's Abdel-Aziz Ben Ammar for his gold. Another teammate, Mohamed Abdel-Rahman, claimed the bronze medal.
The third gold medal went to Mohamed Abdel-Mawgoud in the -66kg after knocking down Morocco's Imad Bassou. Teammate Ahmed Abdel-Rahman won a bronze medal in the same event.
African champion Ramadan Darwish claimed the silver medal after losing to his traditional arch-rival Lyes Bouyacoub in the final of the -100kg. The Algerian thus avenged his defeat last year to the Egyptian.
The other silver medal was won by Mohamed Mohyeldin in the -73kg after losing the final to yet another Algerian Fethi Nourine.
In the +100kg, Egypt's Ahmed Wahid settled for the bronze medal, together with Algeria's Mohamed Sofinae Blerekaa.
Egypt also won two medals in the women's competition, a silver and a bronze. Lamiaa Al-Zenan claimed the silver in the -57kg category after losing the final to her rival Tunisia's Ghofran Khelifi, while teammate Kariman Shafik defended her +78kg bronze medal she won in the last edition. In the -78kg, Alaa Hamed had to settle for fifth place.
In the men's final team competition, Tunisia won the gold to become the champion of Africa. Tunisia beat another North African rival, Morocco, in the final after a parity score of three. It was necessary to use the draw and a last fight to decide the fate of both teams. The silver medal went to Morocco and the bronze to Egypt and Algeria. Only nine teams took part in the team competition: Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Mauritius, South Africa, Senegal, Egypt, Cameroon and Burundi.

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