The African qualifying event for the ILCA continental quota concluded on 9 December in Soma Bay, Hurghada/Egypt, after a week of competition and teams returning home.
In a lovely atmosphere at Palm Royale Soma Bay, the delegations from Algeria, Angola, Egypt, Libya, Mauritius, Morocco, Mozambique, Seychelles, and Tunisia were enjoying the local hospitality and sailing in excellent weather and sea conditions. The wind was building generally from N around 8-10 knots in the first two days, decreasing down to 6 knots later in the week. The medal race on 8/12 had been held in challenging light wind conditions.
The race committee and jury were active in guaranteeing the proper course conditions for a high-level Olympic class competition. Both coaches and athletes were focused on the top goal – to get one of the available places in Paris 2024 for ILCA6 and ILCA7!
The competition was dominated by Egypt (EGY), aided by their home advantage and local knowledge.
Aly Badawi dominated the Mens ILCA7 championship, with only 2 out of 10 races not won by EGY, and in both of those races, Angola (ANG) athletes were leading. Filipe André was in 2nd, and Abdelkhalek Boussouar from Angola was in 3rd, after a decisive Medal Race with some suspense all the way to the last rounding mark.
In ILCA6, Khouloud Mansy (EGY) was the champion, Deisy Nhaquile from Mozambique (MOZ) also guaranteed her country a qualification spot, and Ines Gamti of Tunisia (TUN) was 3rd, with 2 points difference resulting from last minute Medal race position changes.
The Egyptian federation hosted this important event as a true African Championship, with high-quality boats chartered for all teams, international officials, and a well-structured support team. All problems were quickly solved, and a real African spirit and collaboration attitude could be witnessed, with big smiles and fair play all the way to the prize-giving ceremony.
Lots of ideas were discussed on how to develop the ILCA class in the continent, with meetings being held with the teams and/or MNA representatives. The most common question was to determine how to guarantee a regular yearly African ILCA continental championship. Africa needs it, and both the ILCA and all the active MNAs will work together to achieve that goal for the next Olympic cycle.
Congratulations to Egypt (ILCA6 and ILCA7), Angola (ILCA7), and Mozambique (ILCA6) for their places in the Paris 2024 Olympics.
Thanks to all the athletes, coaches, team leaders, officials, RC, Jury, and OA for such a nice event.
Submitted by Nuno Gomes
ILCA AFRICA Regional Chairperson