Egypt and Nigeria dominate first two days of action in Cairo

Egypt wins 13 medals on Thursday and Friday in Cairo to kick off the African Open Championships in the best possible way in front of the home crowd 29 Oct 2022
A woman in a green jersey and a white T-Shirt raises her arms and makes a strong gesture with her face.
Esther Nworgu of Nigeria takes her first African Open Championships title by breaking the world record in the women's up to 41kg category.
ⒸMohamed Almany/WPPO
By Sean Cavanaugh | For World Para Powerlifting

The host nation made a big splash on the opening days of the Cairo 2022 African Open Championships.

Through the first two days of the fierce competition, Egypt has racked up five gold, two silver, and six bronze medals.

Emenyawy dethrones Osman

Egyptian Mohamed Elmenyawy made the biggest headline, taking down heavy favourite and countryman Sherif Osman.

Elmenyawy posted three successful lifts including one of 186kg to claim the title. His first international medal after debuting in the sport last year. The 24-year-old Elmenyawy had nothing but respect for the veterans he defeated.

“It is a great feeling to be with these guys, they are legends. I’m really happy to be with them and have the opportunity to beat them,” said Elmnyawy.

Three-time Paralympic champion Osman did not post a clean third lift and settled for bronze.

Sabah Mohamed claimed another gold medal for Egypt in the first event of the competition. Mohamed put up a mark of 94kg to take the top prize in the women’s up to 55kg class.

Egypt grabbed two golds at once as Mohamed Aly Ibrahim and Metwaly Mathna shared the top of the podium in the men’s up to 80kg event.

The winning for Egypt continued with Rehab Ahmed winning gold in the women’s up to 50kg category. It was the second African Championships title in a row for Ahmed. The Egyptian lifter is striving for higher marks in the future.

“I am very happy and promise to all of the people in Egypt, I will train very hard to win gold and set a world record at Paris 2024,” said Ahmed.

Nworgu shines for Nigeria

Egypt was not the only nation grabbing golds in Cairo. Nigeria followed up with five golds and three silvers through the first two days.

Roland Ezuruike won the first title for Nigeria with a 172kg lift in the men’s up to 54kg class. His mark set a new world record for the legends classification.

Not to be outdone, Esther Nworgu kicked off day two with a huge performance. Her 114kg lift set a new world record in the women’s up to 41kg class. Nworgu knew she was going to do something special in Cairo.

“I take on challenges and I was challenged back in Tbilisi last year. I made up my mind that here in Cairo I’m going to break the record, set it, and then break another one,” said Nworgu.

Latifat Tijani kept the winning going for Nigeria with an African record lift of 113kg to win the women’s up to 45kg class on day two.

Nigeria picked up two more golds in the final session on Friday. Kafila Almaruf set an African record with a 145kg lift in the women’s up to 73kg class. Her teammate Folashade Oluwafemiayo won her second African Championships title in a row with a 150kg lift in the women’s up to 86kg event.

Elsewhere in the early days of the competition, Hadj Ahmed Bejour of Algeria was crowned the African champion in the men’s up to 49kg while Muslim Al-Sudani of Iraq claimed the open gold medal. World champion Hocine Betir added another gold for Algeria in the men’s up to 65kg class.

The Cairo 2022 African Open Championships continue this weekend and will stream live on the Paralympics YouTube channel and the World Para Powerlifting Facebook page.

Live results and entry lists can be found here.