Rio , here we come : Hedaya Malak, Egypt (-57 kg F),Anthony Obame , Gabon (+80 kg M) , and Cheick Salah Cisse , Cote d'Ivoire ( -80kg M).
With the end of 2015, we are proud to say: WE CAN AND WE DID. This year 2015 was a very tough and strenuous year for our athletes, coaches and officials. Everybody struggled and did their best to participate in every G event possible, in order to collect the precious points needed to qualify for the Olympic Games,2016 in Rio.
And now, we can proudly announce that Africa has obtained 3 slots for the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brasil 2016.
We start with Cheick Salah Cisse from Ivory Coast, -80 kg M, who can show an outstanding list of achievements in 2015. These include Silver Medal in 2nd Luxor Egypt, Feb. 2015; Bronze Medal in Spain Open, April, 2015; Gold Medal in World Universiade in Korea in July, 2015; Gold Medal in Grand Prix 1 series in Moscow , Aug. 2015; Gold Medal in All African Games in Congo Brazzaville in Sep. 2015 , as well as Gold Medal in Samsun , Turkey GP Series 2 in Sept. 2015 and last but not least a Bronze Medal in Manchester, England in GP Series 3 . This very impressive list resulted in him being chosen as the 4th best player in the World in all categories and qualifying to the OG in Rio 2016.
Hedaya Malak, Egyptian female player under 57 kg, made a stunning performance during the Mexico GP Final 6-7 Dec. 2015. She defeated British Olympic Medalist Jade Jones in the Semifinal, going on the Final against Spain's Eva Calvo Gomez , whom she beat in the 11th second of the extra round. These results gave her a direct qualification to the Olympic Games in Rio 2016 , moving up from 4th place to 3rd place in the International Ranking. Hedaya is a 22 year old Architecture student, having to balance the very difficult task of continuous training and travel versus a very heavy curriculum in her University. But like so many outstanding athletes, she seems to manage perfectly.
Anthony Obame, Gabon National Team player +80 kg, is the third African Champion to qualify for OG Rio 2016. Anthony won the Silver Medal in +80 kg category in the London Olympics in 2012, making him the first Gabonese ever to win an Olympic medal. He is coached by Juan Antonio Ramos, who himself was twice a World Champion. Anthony was born in Libreville, Gabon in 1988 and is somewhat of a National Hero and Gabon's dream for another Olympic medal, after he qualified for OG Rio 2016.
We still hope for more African athletes to join the above Elite Group of Olympic Games qualified players, and there is yet the African Qualification Tournament in Agadir, Morocco which will be held on 6-7 Feb. 2016.
Let us all pray for all athletes who will participate to grant them this honor.