Three Egyptian taekwondo players have qualified for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Summer Olympics, with two qualifying after their participation in the 2016 African Qualification tournament held in the Moroccan city of Agadir.
The three players that have qualified for the tournament are Seham El-Sawalhy, Ghofran Zaki and Hedaya Malak who will compete in the under-67kg, under-68kg, and under-57kg divisions respectively.
El-Sawalhy reached the final match of the African Qualification tournament after she beat Cape Verde’s Sofia Reis, 10-2, in the semi-final match. Meanwhile, Côte d’Ivoire’s Ruth Gbagbi also reached the finals after defeating Gabon’s Urgence Mouega, 14-5.
However, El-Sawalhy was defeated by Ruth Gbagbi in the finals, 10-4. Despite her loss, El-Sawalhy will represent Egypt in the 2016 Rios Summer Olympics in the under-67kg division.
El-Sawalhy previously qualified for the 2012 London Summer Olympics, were she competed in the 67 kg division. However, she was eliminated in the preliminary round by Sweden’s Elin Johansson.
Ruth Gbagbi similarly qualified to the 2012 London’s Summer Olympics in the 67 kg division. Gbagbi was defeated by South Korea’s Hwang Kyung-seon in the preliminary round, and was eliminated by German Helena Fromm.
El-Sawalhy was not the only Egyptian player to participate in the African qualification tournament, as Egypt’s Ghofran Zaki also participated in the under-68kg division.
Following his victory against Moroccan Faical Saidi, Zaki went through to the semi-finals, where he defeated Central Africa’s David Boui, 7-1.
Boui represented formidable competition for Zaki as he had competed in the 2012 London Summer Olympics in the under-68kg division. In the first round of the Olympic Games, he lost to Iran’s silver medallist, Mohammad Bagheri Motamed. Later in the competition, he lost to the Afghanistan’s bronze medallist Rohullah Nikpai.
In the other semi-final match, Senegal’s Balla Dieye defeated Nigeria’s Edwin Samson.
In the final match, Ghofran Zaki defeated Dieye, 2-1.
Seif Eissa also participated in the African Qualifying tournament, competing in the under-80kg division. Eissa defeated Niger’s Hama Alzouma the semi-finals, 10-6, to reach the semi-final match. However, he lost there to Mali’s Ismael Coulibaly, 3-8.
Eissa left the African tournament with a bronze medal but without qualifying for the Olympic Games.
Hedaya Malak qualified for the Olympics Games as, by the end of 2015, she was ranked among the top six in her weight category, and thus automatically qualified to compete in Rio.
With her win over Spain’s Eva Calvo Gomez at the 2015 World Taekwondo Grand Prix’s final match in Mexico City, Hedaya Malak improved jumped to the third best in her weight division.
Hedaya Malak participated in the 2012 London’s Summer Olympics where she reached the quarter-finals before she lost to France’s Marlene Harnois.