Nabeul 2023: Chad secure mixed team spots for Paris on finals day
The Chadian recurve mixed team of Martine Abaifouta Hallas Maria (above) and Israel Madaye were crowned African champions today after beating Cote d’Ivoire in the gold medal final at the Nabeul 2023 African Archery Championships – and the win meant that they qualified a men's and women's place for their country at Paris 2024.
The places were the last two of six to be awarded at the championships, with the rest going to the top two individual recurve winners in each gender.
Chad took the first two sets against the Ivorian pair of Esmei Diombo and Franck Eyeni, only to fall away in the next two to force the shootoff. Chad found a ten and an eight, it was enough to win, and there were tears on both sides of the stage afterwards – some in celebration, some in defeat.
“The shoot-off is something we’ve been working on.” said Madaye. “We’ve worked on it over and over again and I wondered if I’ll ever use it. It’s not easy, but that's what's important. You have the confidence of your form, not the competition. We're making progress.”
“This wasn’t just four arrows. There were two places for Paris. That’s all there is to it. That’s it for me.”
With the Olympic spots unexpectedly decided in the previous day's competition, after a career-best performance for Egypt’s recurves, the finals were a more relaxed affair focusing on crowning the continental champions.
In windy conditions, Egypt won both men’s and women’s recurve team matches, and featured in both individual finals too. The women’s individual was an all-Egyptian affair between teammates Jana Ali and Rana Kamel, which Ali ran away with 7-1.
In the recurve men’s final, Werner Potgieter had shown remarkable consistency and mental strength to win the spot for South Africa and work his way through the bracket, but a brief loss of his process in the first end saw him shoot a miss in the final against Egypt’s Youssof Tolba. He never quite recovered, and Tolba shot consistently to pull away and win 7-1.
Namibia also left Nabeul with two gold medals, courtesy of Jacqueline Coetzee taking compound gold and veteran Lutz Wahlers (above) taking barebow gold. It was the first time a barebow competition had been held at the continental championships.
The Mauritian compound men also took home team gold, and individual gold and silver; enough to give the island nation second place on the medal table behind Egypt.
Chad’s Paris-bound archers will follow in the footsteps of Marlyse Hourtou, who made an impression at Tokyo 2020. With archery continuing to develop in Africa, and hopefully returning to the African Games soon, this friendly continental competition was a particularly colourful step on the road to Paris.
Champions: 2023 African Archery Championships
- Recurve men: Youssof Tolba, Egypt
- Recurve women: Jana Ali, Egypt
- Compound men: Henri How Kemg Fat, Mauritius
- Compound women: Jacqueline Coetzee, Namibia
- Compound men open: Aliou Drame, Senegal
- Barebow men: Lutz Wahlers, Namibia
- Recurve men team: Egypt
- Recurve women team: Egypt
- Recurve mixed team: Chad
- Compound men team: Mauritius
- Compound mixed team: Zimbabwe