“We Hope To Get More Openings For The Olympic Games”
Kingue Dihang, President of the Cameroon Judo Federation.
Cameroon just participated in the African judo championship in Cairo which was a qualifying tournament for the Olympic Games. What is your appreciation of the Cameroonian athletes in the competition?
It was the 39th African Senior Judo Championship (men and women). It was both the individual and teams competitions. Cameroon took part in the two competitions. In the individual competition we won three bronze medals. Dieudonné Dolassem (-90kgs), Mballa Atangana Hortense Vanessa in the Open category and the -78kgs. Dolassem also competed in two categories. In the Open category, he eliminated the African champion, Tunisia’s Faicel Jaballah in the quarter finals. We also took part in the teams’ competition where we finished third. A total of 25 countries took part in the competition. Cameroon was also on the podium. In the over classification Cameroon finished sixth out of the 25 countries. It is one of the qualifying competitions for the Olympic Games. It enabled our athletes to get some points. There is no precise number of points to qualify for the Olympic Games but there is a classification that will be drawn up on May 30, 2020. Only the first 20 athletes will go to the Olympic Games. There are many competitions ahead to be in the best 20 athletes in the world.
Some athletes did not take part in the competition. How do you explain that?
We had some problems beyond our control. We made all the reservations but the Moroccan air transport company that was in charge of transporting the Cameroonian team cancelled its flight. We were obliged to take our athletes to Turkish Airlines. At that time Turkish Airlines did not have any more places and we were programmed for the following day. As a result about nine athletes missed the weighing exercise since they arrived 24 hours late. Everything was ready. At the level of the Ministry of Sports and Physical Education the budget was available. But it is at the level of logistics that there were some little quacks but that was taken care of.
After the African championship what next?
We have two athletes who will be going to the World Judo Training Centre as from April 29, 2018 in Budapest, Hungary. They are Arrey Sophina -70kgs and Djeupa Djapa Audrey -70kgs. They obtained a scholarship to prepare till 2020. We are hoping to get more openings to go to the Olympic Games and to have more athletes. For now we are preparing for the “Tournoi de la Ville de Yaounde” to enable our athletes prepare for the World Championship in September in Baku, Azerbaijan. We will also prepare for the African Open in Yaounde which is also a competition which gives points for qualification for the Olympic Games. One week before the Africa Open in Yaounde we will take part in the African Open in Dakar.