African Championships 2023: Egypt grab two spots as title showdown beckons
Sunday’s showdown finals at the Nabeul 2023 African Archery Championships were expected to be a furious battle for individual Olympic places, but in the end, powerhouse national performances decided those spots the day before.
Egypt’s archers are guaranteed a men’s and women’s place for Paris 2024 after an extraordinary performance that put three of their recurves into the men's last four and two into the women's last four. They also feature in both team gold medal matches.
With the top two individual spots guaranteed tickets to Paris, tomorrow’s finals competitions are a formality for the north African country. As both the other archers in the women’s bracket are from Tunisia, the host nation also picks up a guaranteed women’s spot.
Sherif Mohamed, on the Egyptian men’s team, said: “So we just qualified to the Olympics. We just got quota spots for men and women.”
“It was a little bit tricky [today], but in the end we got the good results. It was a bit more pressure, but in the end it makes it more sweet. It feels better at the end, like the tighter it gets and then you win, it feels much better. So tomorrow we are shooting for gold, and we’ll see if we can get a full house.”
With three Egyptian recurve men in the last four, the other nation appearing is also guaranteed a place, and that honour went to veteran Werner Potgieter of South Africa (above), the top seed.
“I‘ve got mixed emotions.” said the 45-year-old. “There‘s a lot going on now. It's still a bit surreal that I made it through. I came here with one goal, and to achieve it, it’s a feeling that I don't think I can explain.”
“You go through those ups and downs, you start flowing, there’s a rhythm, and then something happens and the rhythm gets broken – and that’s where mental discipline comes in. I guess years of just mentally focusing and training yourself to bounce back.”
“I mean, the Olympics for me isn’t the end, it’s the beginning. I want to keep doing archery until the day I can’t pull a bow anymore!”
The competition continues with the team and individual finals tomorrow in recurve, compound, compound open and men’s barebow – all crowning continental champions for the next two years. The recurve mixed team final between Chad and Cote d’Ivoire will decide which of those two nations picks up a men’s and women’s place for Paris.