The strongest female judoka in Africa finally got the opportunity to face off against one another at the African Seniors Championships, held between 17 and 20 December in Madagascar.

Originally scheduled to take place in Morocco in April, the African Judo Championships had been suspended twice because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Ultimately only the seniors competitions went ahead, with the the cadet, junior and kata contests having been definitively cancelled because of the prevailing health situation.

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A total of 52 women judoka travelled to Madagascar to compete at the event. On the opening day of action, South Africa’s Geronay Whitebooi retained the under-48 kilogram title that she had won in front of a home crowd in Cape Town in 2019, defeating Morocco’s Aziza Chakir in the gold medal bout.

Another judoka to successfully defend her title was Amina Belkadi of Algeria, who prevailed in the final of the under-63 kilogram category against Moroccan rival Sofia Belattar.

The unfortunate Moroccan team were to suffer a third final defeat in the under-52 kilogram tournament, with Soumiya Iraoui pipped to the title by Brazilian-born Taciana Cesar, representing Guinea-Bissau. However, Assmaa Niang did give her compatriots something to celebrate by claiming victory in the under-70 kilogram contest, thereby securing Morocco its only gold medal of the championships.

Elsewhere in the women’s individual categories, there were also victories for Angola’s Diassonema Mucungui (-57 kg), the DRC’s Marie Branser (-78 kg) and Cameroon’s Hortence Vanessa Mballa Atangana (+78 kg), who went one better than the silver medal that she had won in 2019.

The last day of the championships was set aside for a team contest, which was won by Algeria. Meanwhile, Egypt came top of the overall medal table thanks to an impressive five golds in the men’s categories.

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