Nwosu, Ajayi Fail To Pick Olympic Tickets At The African Qualification Tourney
By Niyi Busari
Current African Champion, Chinazum Nwosu, and Nigeria open gold medalist, Ifeoluwa Ajayi, have lost out in their quest to secure Olympic tickets at the just concluded African Qualification tournament for the Tokyo Olympics.
The pair, who lost out in the crucial semifinals’ showdown against Niger Republic and Mali, had need to win the semi-finals to ensure a place at the summer Olympic event.
Nwosu, defeated Algeria’s Soualili Nesrine Souad 20 – 3 in the quarterfinals before a shocking 10 – 33 loss to Niger Republic’s Tekiath Ben. The African champion rebounded in the bronze medal match by defeating Ghana 18 – 0 to come away with a conciliatory bronze medal
Ifeoluwa Ajayi defeated Madagascar’s Rakotobe Steve 35 – 5 in the Round of 16, before beating Benin Republic’s Kiki Jehudiel 14 – 4 in the quarterfinals to secure a semifinals meeting with Mali’s Seydou Fofana, who then defeated the Nigerian 3 – 17. The Malian had earlier defeated the current male -68kg african champion Ismael Yacouba of Niger Republic.
Ajayi went on to lose 5 – 17 to African Champion, Ethiopia’s Tariku Girma in the bronze medal match.
Nigeria won a total of one golden ticket and two bronze medals from the four athletes it presented at the African Qualification Tournament for Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
Elizabeth Anyanacho picked up the country’s solitary ticket to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics while bronze medals were won by Benjamin Okuomose and Chinazum Nwosu.
Bronze medalists at the events are the Tokyo 2020 Olympic substitutes, in case of possible doping infractions by any finalist.
Team Nigeria had a total of eleven bouts, with seven bouts won and four bouts lost, given the team a 63%winning percentage.
105 athletes from 35 countries participated in the qualifiers with only ten countries picking up the 16 Olympic tickets, including Egypt, Morocco, Cote D’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Tunisia, Gabon, Mali, Niger Republic and Kenya.
Team Nigeria is billed to return to Nigeria on 25 February 2020.