Zimbabwe re-emerge at an African Championships dominated by host Egypt

Winner of the first Youth Olympic Games in 2010, Egypt’s Ibrahim SABRY has had a fairly quiet four years since. He won took team gold at the Mediterranean Games in 2013, but hasn’t shot internationally regularly enough to repeat his debut international performance in Singapore.

SABRY scored 650 to lead the 72-arrow ranking round in Luxor, 20 points more than the second seed.

He dropped a single set point during matches before the last four, but went to a shoot-off with Egyptian teammate Hady ELKHOLOSY in the semifinals. SABRY won that, then beat Zimbabwe’s Gavin SUTHERLAND to gold. It’s one up on the continental individual silver he had at the African Championships two years ago.

SUTHERLAND competed in the first African Championships but Zimbabwe disappeared from the international archery scene many years ago.

Now a resident of the United Kingdom, Gavin’s silver in the continental championships and victory in the open competition, run in parallel, just put the nation back on the map – following its reactivation within World Archery Africa.

Egypt had the recurve women’s top seed converted into a gold medal, as well.

Hania FOUDA beat the second ranked athlete and another member of the Egyptian team, Amira MANSOUR, in the final. FOUDA knocked out Karen HULZTER, who represented South Africa at the London 2012 Olympic Games, in the quarterfinals after she qualified disappointingly.

However, HULTZER was the only archer to take a set point off FOUDA. Their match finished at 6-4.

(As an aside: HULZTER went out in the first round at London. The last South African archer to make it past the first round at an Olympics was Kirsten LEWIS, who lost to China’s HE Ying (eventual eighth place finisher) in the last 16 at Athens 2014.

Ying now coaches LI Jiaman, and watched from the spectator stands as she won double gold at the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympics because she wasn’t accredited as a coach at the Games.)

FOUDA’s young recurve women’s team beat Morocco to gold, and their counterparts in the Egyptian squad overcame Algeria for the men’s team title. Second-seeded in their divisions individually, MANSOUR and ELKHOLOSY were a formidable top-seeded mixed team for Egypt, too – and won gold ahead of South Africa.

A growing discipline in Africa, the compound titles also went to Egypt. Ashraf MOHAMED won the men’s event, Nancy ELGIBILY the women’s. Both were seeded second and beat the top ranked athletes in their respective finals.

Fourteen African nations competed in Luxor, including delegations from Tunisia and Sudan for the first time.

Host nation Egypt recorded a considerable medal haul. Promising after recently re-elected President of World Archery Africa, Dr Aladin GABR, reminded federations during the organisation’s Congress that the continent has six places to award to the Rio Olympic Games.

Visit the World Archery Africa website for more information.