Africa's best bid for tickets to Tokyo
Africa’s best canoe slalom athletes have arrived in La Seu in Spain to prepare for this weekend’s continental Olympic qualifier, with four tickets to Tokyo up for grabs.
Athletes from Algeria, Kenya, Mauritius, Morocco and Senegal will be vying for single quotas in the men’s and women’s canoe and kayak competitions.
Among those hoping to earn their Olympic berth is Terence Saramandif, of Mauritius. Saramandif won a C1 gold medal at the 2018 Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires.
Africa’s best ever performance at an Olympic Games came in 2008 in Beijing, when Benjamin Boukpeti won bronze for Togo in the men’s K1 final. It was Togo’s first ever Olympic medal. Boukpeti also competed at the 2004 and 2012 Olympic Games.
La Seu in Spain was the venue for the canoe slalom competition at the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games, where South Africa’s Gary Wade made history by becoming the first ever African athlete to compete in an Olympic canoe slalom event.
There were no African canoe slalom athletes at the 1996, but the continent has been represented at every Games since Morocco’s Nizar Samlal competed in the K1 at the Sydney Olympics.
This weekend’s qualifiers will be contested on Saturday and Sunday. Event organisers have put strict Covid-19 health and safety measures in place to ensure the successful operation of the qualifiers, including team quarantine and social distancing rules, and regular testing of all participants.
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