By Maydaa Abo El-Nadar
Egypt’s Mohamed El-Saharty won the gold medal in the men’s individual all-around gymnastics group at the 11th All-Africa Games currently taking place in Congo-Brazzaville.
The second and third places in the group were obtained by Algerian gymnasts Mohamed Bourguieg and Mohamed Metidji, respectively. Gymnastics is one of the 28 sports included at the All-Africa Games, taking place between 4 and 19 September.
The female gymnastics groups started on 4 September, in which the national teams from Egypt, Algeria and South Africa participated. The Egyptian team came in second place, whilst first place was acquired by South Africa and third place by Algeria.
In the women’s individual all-around group, gold went to South Africa’s Kirsten Beckett, Egyptian gymnast Nancy Taman came in second place to achieve silver, while the bronze medal went to Alegria’s Farah Boufeddal.
The men’s all-around group, which included teams from Egypt, Algeria, South Africa, and Nigeria, took place on 5 September. Algeria came out on top to win the gold medal, followed by Egypt, Nigeria and South Africa, respectively.
In the men’s competitions by apparatus, held on 6-7 September, Egypt’s share was remarkable, as Ali Zahran won gold on the men’s rings, while El-Saharty won bronze on the same equipment. The silver medal went to South Africa’s Ryan Patterson.
As for the men’s pommel horse, El-Saharty continued his winning streak to win the silver medal. The Gold and Bronze Medals were acquired by Algerian gymnasts Mohamed Aouicha and Hellal Metidji, respectively.
Egypt presented two players on the men’s vault, but unfortunately did not win any medals – the gold and silver medals went to Algeria, while bronze went to South Africa.
Egypt’s victories continued on the men’s parallel bars, as El-Saharty won first place. Second and third places were acquired, respectively, by Algeria and South Africa. As for the men’s high bar, El-Saharty won silver, while Algeria acquired the gold and bronze.
As for the women’s apparatus competitions, held on 6 and 7 September, Egypt’s Nancy Taman won bronze in the women’s vault. Algeria’s Farah Boufadene won gold, while Claudia Cummins, representing South Africa, won silver.
On the women’s uneven bars, gold was acquired by Boufadene, while the silver and bronze medals went to South Africa’s gymnasts Kirsten Beckett and Tylah Lotter, respectively.
As for the women’s balance beam, South Africa won first and second places, with Algeria winning the bronze.
El-Saharty noted that the Congolese audience is not familiar with gymnastics as a sport, which accounted for their noisy cheers throughout the tournament. Although gymnastics is a sport that requires concentration, the Congolese way of cheering was a new experience for the team.
Commenting on the situation of gymnastics in Africa, he added that it is mainly widespread across Northern Africa, including Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco, in addition to South Africa, unlike in the rest of Africa.
El-Saharty concluded that Morocco did not participate in this tournament due to its political dispute with the African Union, due to the Western Sahara conflict, which resulted in banning Morocco.