North Africa, Nigeria dominate Africa's Olympic boxing slots

By Sammy Heywood Okine
Boxing North Africa, Nigeria dominate Africa's Olympic boxing slots
SEP 19, 2023 LISTEN

The North Africans secured five slots, two of them among men and three among women, with an enviable four gold medals thanks to Imane Khelif and Roumaysa Boualam in the women’s 66kg and 50kg categories, respectively

Three Nigerian boxers win gold in African qualifiers, clinch ticket for Paris 2024 Olympic Games

Team Nigeria enjoyed a successful final day at the just concluded Boxing African Olympic Qualifiers in Dakar, Senegal, with six medals won: three gold medals and three bronze medals.

The event, which began on September 9, came to an end on Friday, September 15, with three Nigerian boxers clinching tickets to next year’s Olympic Games in Paris, France.

The trio of Omole Dolapo Joshua, Olaore Olaoitan Adams, and Cynthia Ogunsemilore Temitayo all won gold medals in their respective categories to seal their participation in the Games, while Oyesiji Adeola Omowunmi, Ojo Nene Joy, and Patricia Mbata all settled for a bronze medal apiece and fell short of qualifying for sports biggest event.

Female lightweight boxer Cynthia Ogunsemilore was too hot for Algeria’s Khelif Hadjila in the women’s 60kg event. The Nigeran won by a unanimous decision (5-0) to become the New Champion of Africa and qualify for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

“This is the time for me to shine; this is the time for people to know me; this is the time for me to be the World Champion,” a visibly emotional Ogunsemilore said.

“I’ve started this [boxing] since I was 12 years old, despite it not being in my original plans but my coach and my father have helped me all through the way.

“It is the time for my name to ring in people’s ears, for them to know my family’s name, and I’m very happy and excited,” the new African champions added.

In the men’s 57kg category, featherweight fighter Omole Dolapo outboxed his Ethiopian opponent Leta Fikremariyam Yadesa to become the new African champion in the division by a 5-0 unanimous decision.

Like Cynthia, Olaore Olaoitan overcame another Algerian in Houmri Mohamed with yet another unanimous decision in the men’s 92kg category to become a two-time African champion in the heavyweight division.

The team’s success in Senegal means Nigeria will have representatives in boxing when the Paris 2024 Games kick off next July, as opposed to the 2020 Tokyo Games, where they had no qualified fighters.