African Boxing Qualifier: 33 Boxers Pick Tokyo 2020 Tickets
The first Boxing Road to Rio qualification event has come to an end in Dakar, Senegal on February 29.
A total of 198 athletes from 38 countries participated in the African continental qualifier held at the Dakar Arena in Diamniadio from 20 to 29 February, competing in 13 weight categories (eight men’s and five women’s events) for a total of 192 bouts, while aiming for the 33 Tokyo 2020 Olympic quota places up for grabs.
16 nations won medals in Dakar. Morocco finished atop the medals standings, with a total of eight medals, including four gold and four bronze medals. Algeria followed in second with eight medals (three gold, four silver, one bronze), while Cameroon closed the top three in third place with two gold and one bronze (you can find here the full medal standings from Dakar)
Fourteen nations gained at least one qualification spot for Tokyo 2020, with Algeria topping the quota places chart as it secured seven Olympic berths.
Athletes and teams shared their enthusiasm on the finals day. The winner of the Women’s Featherweight event, Tunisia’s Khouloud Hlimi Ep Moulahi, said: “Everything has been fantastic here in Dakar. This is probably the best event in which I have ever participated, compared to all other championships.”
The competition was run according to a revised set of rules, amended by the IOC Boxing Task Force with the support of Athletes Ambassadors and boxing experts. Furthermore, a new selection process for referees and judges was implemented in the lead-up to the Boxing Road to Tokyo Series. All officials were reviewed to ensure they meet the selection criteria and were randomly selected through a transparent and independently audited procedure. referees and judges also took part in a specific educational program, and their performances were continuously monitored throughout the competition, to help them improve the quality of their decisions.
Algeria’s Mohamed Flissi, the winner of the Men’s Fly category, said: “The IOC Boxing Task Force organised everything in a perfect way: the game was clean, and judging has been the best ever.”
Men’s Middleweight bronze medallist Dieudonne Seyi Ntsengue (CMR), added: “Everything was just perfect! The organisation worked really well, and refereeing has been fair. Really fair.”
The Boxing Road to Tokyo now goes on: the Asian/Oceanian qualifying event is about to start in Amman, Jordan, where action is due to begin on 3 March. The competition, held at the Prince Hamza Hall, will run until 11 March and will see 221 athletes (151 men and 70 women) from 35 countries competing for 63 Olympic quota places.