SNOOKER TAKES CENTRE STAGE AT AFRICAN GAMES
Moroccan snooker players dominated on home soil this week by claiming a trio of gold medals as the sport was contested at the African Games for the first time in its history.
The 12th staging of Africa’s biggest multisports event has seen athletes from 54 African nations come together across 26 sports including snooker. Staged at the Hotel Farah in Casablanca the groundbreaking competition saw full-medal tournaments contested by men, women and mixed-gender doubles teams.
There was a dramatic victory for Morocco’s Amiri Amine in the men’s competition on Saturday as he won a deciding-frame shoot out against Abdulraham Haridi of Egypt. It was Haridi who led 2-0 and 3-2 in their best of seven frame encounter before Amine took frame six on a re-spotted black to force a decider that he would ultimately go on to dominate on his way to claiming gold.
The bronze-medal match was also won by Morocco as Yassime Bellamine defeated African champion Mohamed Ibrahim 4-2 to claim the final step on the podium.
The first competition of the week to be played was won by Morocco’s Yousra Matine as she defeated Ganton Askiri of Egypt to claim gold in the women’s event, with Hakima Kissai taking bronze.
There was better news for Kissai in Wednesday’s mixed doubles event, however, as together with Yassime Bellamine the pair defeated Amiri Amine and Yousra Matine to claim gold. Egypt finished in the bronze medal position with Mohamed Ibrahim and Yara Sharaf.
The event was well-supported throughout the week with visits from distinguished guests including AASC President General Ahmed Nasser, Africa Billiards and Snooker Confederation President Mohamed El-Kammah and World Snooker Federation President Jason Ferguson.
The event received significant media interest across Africa with live-action and interviews broadcast on television and online.
Mohamed El-Kammah said: “It has been a dream to see our sport enter such a prestigious occasion as the African Games. It is a journey that began many years ago and I am very proud to see this dream become a reality. Egyptian players have always had a strong presence in snooker, I believe the opportunity to earn medals will now inspire the next generation.”
Jason Ferguson said: “It has been an honour to work on this project along with our regional federation, the ABSC. It is clear that our sport has a place in the Africas and this landmark inclusion event is just the beginning as we aim to provide more opportunity for players in the region. I must thank Ahmed Nasser, Mohamed El-Kammah and their teams for their inspiration in making great strides for our sport.”
Source: World Snooker