Trio end Olympic qualifying drought

Edwin  - CEO March 24, 2024
Updated 2024/03/25 at 10:47 PM
6 Min Read
65kg FS - Gaku Akazawa (SAM) UWW
65kg FS - Gaku Akazawa (SAM) UWW

Samoa, Australia, and South Africa capture Paris spots in Alexandria


87kg GR – Bachir Sid Azara (ALG) Image credit: UWW


ALEXANDRIA, Egypt (March 24) — Seven nations shared the 12 Paris Olympics Freestyle quotas on the final day of Alexandria’s African & Oceania OG Qualifiers, Vinay Siwach reports for UWW.


Egypt led the way with four quotas, while Australia and Guinea Bissau won two each. Samoa, Algeria, South Africa, and Nigeria won one each to complete the line-up.


Samoa qualified for the first time in Freestyle as Gaku AKAZAWA (SAM) dominated his bouts to win the quota. Paris will also mark the first Samoan wrestler at the Olympics since Sydney 2000. Akazawa, a former Japanese high school star who moved to Samoa in 2017, defeated Wotna NDOC (GBS) via fall in the first period of the 65kg semifinal.


Georgii OKOROKOV (AUS) also ended an eight-year wait for Australia as he qualified at 65kg after winning the other semifinal. He defeated Manaceu NGONDA (ANG) 10-0.


A little later, Jayden LAWRENCE (AUS) earned a Paris quota at 86kg with a thrilling 4-4 win over Harrison ONOVWIOMOGBOHWO (NGR) in the semifinals.


Onovwiomogbowho scored a takedown, earned another point for Lawrence’s passivity, and added a step out to build a 4-0 lead in the semifinal. Lawrence put all his energy into scoring a takedown in the second period but found it challenging. He ultimately hit a cutback, which caused Onovwiomogbohwo to fall on his back, giving Lawrence four points.


Lawrence kept his 4-4 criteria lead for the final two minutes and earned a Paris 2024 quota.


Tokyo Olympian Fateh BENFERDJALLAH (ALG) joined him as the qualified wrestler for Paris. He defeated Cedric ABOSSOLO (CMR) 7-0 and won the ticket.


South Africa will also be back in the Olympics after 16 years. Nicholas de LANGE (RSA) qualified the country at 97kg after he defeated Mohamed SAADAOUI (TUN)via fall. The former U20 world medalist convincingly won both bouts.


Mostafa ELDERS (EGY) was surprised by Wali KEBIR (ALG), who scored three points on Elders, but the Egyptian never lost his cool and posted an easy 15-3 victory.


Egypt qualified for three more weight classes, 57kg, 74kg, and 125kg, with Amr REDA (EGY) leading from the front. The ever-consistent Reda took 33 seconds after the first period to win the quota after beating Rayanne ESSAIDI (MAR) 11-0. His previous two wins of the day were via falls.


At 125kg, Diaaeldin ABDELMOTTALEB (EGY) survived a scare to beat Modou FAYE (SEN), 3-3, in the semifinals and qualify for the Games. He got a 1-0 lead after Faye was called passive, but no additional points were scored in the first period.


Faye was put on the activity clock again in the second period. This time, he hit a single-leg attack to takedown. Abdelmottaleb was put on the activity clock late and failed to score, giving Faye one more point. With just over a minute left, Faye now led 3-1.


Abdelmottaleb scored a takedown using a go-behind to take a 3-3 criteria lead and defended it for the last 28 seconds to qualify for the Olympics.


Gamal MOHAMED (EGY) did not face any troubles as he won the 57kg place with an easy 8-0 win over KHALIL BARKOUTI (TUN) in the semifinal.


Guinea Bissau captured two of the remaining three spots. Tokyo Olympian Diamantino IUNA FAFE (GBS) won at 57kg, rolling to a 10-0 win over Suraj SINGH (NZL), while 74kg African champion Bacar NDUM (GBS) defeated Oyeinkeperemo BRAVEMAN (NGR), 10-2, in his semifinal.


The second 125kg quota was won by Ashton MUTUWA (NGR), who was involved in a high-scoring about against Justin VAN ZYL (RSA) before winning via fall.



57kg Paris Olympic Qualification Bouts
SF 1: Diamantino IUNA FAFE (GBS) df. Suraj SINGH (NZL), 10-0

65kg Paris Olympic Qualification Bouts
SF 1: Georgii OKOROKOVV (AUS) df. Manaceu NGONDA (ANG), 10-0
SF 2: Gaku AKAZAWA (SAM) df. Wotna NDOC (GBS), via fall (4-2)

74kg Paris Olympic Qualification Bouts
SF 1: Amr REDA (EGY) df. Rayanne ESSAIDI (MAR), 11-0
SF 2: Bacar NDUM (GBS) df. Oyeinkeperemo BRAVEMAN (NGR), 10-2

86kg Paris Olympic Qualification Bouts
SF 1: Fateh BENFERDJALLAH (ALG) df. Cedric ABOSSOLO (CMR), 7-0
SF 2: Jayden LAWRENCE (AUS) df. Harrison ONOVWIOMOGBOHWO (NGR), 4-4

97kg Paris Olympic Qualification Bouts
SF 1: Nicolaas DE LANGE (RSA) df. Mohamed SAADAOUI (TUN), via fall (5-2)
SF 2: Mostafa ELDERS (EGY) df. Wali KEBIR (ALG), 15-3

125kg Paris Olympic Qualification Bouts
SF 1: Diaaeldin ABDELMOTTALEB (EGY) df. Modou FAYE (SEN), 3-3
SF 2: Ashton MUTUWA (NGR) df. Justin VAN ZYL (RSA), via fall (16-8)


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