Six countries, including host Morocco and Africa’s most populous nation Nigeria, secured Olympic tickets for Tokyo 2020 on the opening day of the on-going African Qualification Tournament.
The spread of the medals acutely reflects the difficulty and competitiveness of the Olympic qualification process, as well of spread of taekwondo development across the African continent.
Morocco and Egypt secured two Olympic tickets each while the remaining four tickets were won by Nigeria, Ethiopia, Cote d’Ivoire and Gabon.
In the female -49kg, the number one and two seed, Egypt’s Nour Abdelsalam and Morocco’s El Boutchi, lived up to expectations to emerge as the category’s Olympic ticket holders.
In the female -67kg, current African Champion and the number one seed, Egypt’s Malak Hedaya joined the number three seed, Nigeria’s Elizabeth Anyanacho as the category’s Olympic ticket holders.
In the male -58kg, the number one seed Morocco’s Omar Lakehal and Ethiopia’s Solomon Demse emerged as the category’s Olympic ticket holders.
In the male +80kg, number two seed Cote d’Ivoire’s Seydou Gbane joined Gabon’s Anthony Obame to emerge as the category’s Olympic ticket holders.
Day two will see battle in the remaining four Olympic weight categories, including male -68kg, male -80kg, female -57kg and female +67kg.
Current African Champion, Nigeria’s Chinazum Nwosu and Nigeria Open gold medalist, Ifeoluwa Ajayi represented Nigeria in the female -57kg and male -68kg respectively.
105 athletes from 35 countries are currently battling for 16 Olympic tickets for the world’s most prestigious sporting event, with eight of those Olympic tickets already earned on day one of the qualification tournament.
For the Taekwondo event of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, there are a total of 128 slots available to be secured – 120 for qualification places, four for the hosts – Japan and four tripartite commission invitation places.