Olympic archery athletes preview: #1 Africa

28 July 2016
Rio de Janeiro (BRA)
Continent-by-continent, World Archery’s run-down of the archers competing at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

Header picture via The Infinite Curve.

Read the rest of our regional roster previews:

Continent: #1 Africa

Number of athletes: 7

Number of nations: 6

Number of first-time nations: 2

The One-to-beat

Ahmed El-Nemr, from Egypt, has the strongest Olympic pedigree. He’s one of only two of the African archers in Rio to have competed at a Games before. (Both went to London in 2012.)

Twenty-seven year-old El-Nemr is also the reigning African Champion in the recurve men’s division.

The story

Africa, the growing nation in international archery, has two National Olympic Committees represented for the first time in archery in Libya and Malawi. The latter will be the feel-good story to follow, especially when you get to know where Malawian archer’s Areneo David’s roots lie – thanks to the (above) both heart-wrenching and -warming documentary, produced for Korean television.

the nations

A nation-by-nation run-down of the continent’s athletes, history and a target, which – if achieved – would mean a really successful archery competition in Rio. Medal count is taken from the modern era, post-1972.

Egypt 

Athletes: Reem Mansour (woman), Ahmed El-Nemr (man)

Olympic record: 0 medals

Intel: Egypt sent two archers to London 2012 – El-Nemr and Nada Kamel. The latter went out in the first round, but El-Nemr – now en-route to his second Olympics – pulled off one of the upsets of the first round. The 57th seed dispatched Canada’s Crispin Duenas, ranked number eight, 6-2. He fell in the second phase, but successfully upset the bracket – and became the first Egyptian archer to win a match at the Games.

Mansour makes her Olympic debut in Rio. She finished second at the African Archery Championships to win Egypt the spot.

Target: Third round – men, second round – women

Ivory Coast 

Athletes: Rene Kouassi (man)

Olympic record: 0 medals

Intel: Rene became the Ivory Coast’s first Olympic archer in 2012. He seeded 59th and lost in the first round to sixth-seeded Gael Prevost, of France.

Target: Second round – men

Kenya 

Athletes: Shehzana Anwar (woman)

Olympic record: 0 medals

Intel: Kenya has had two previous archery Olympians. Dominic John Rebolo competed in 2000, and both he and Jennifer Mbuta attended Atlanta in 1996. Shehzana is the reigning African Archery Champion, since winning in Windhoek early in 2016. Neither Rebolo nor Mbuta won a match.

Target: Second round – women

Libya 

Athletes: Ali El Ghrari (man)

Olympic record: 0 medals

Intel: El Ghrari will become Libya’s first Olympic archer in Rio. The 19-year-old was issued a Tripartite place after finishing 17th at the Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing in 2014. He’s been unable to travel much, due to issues in his country at home.

Target: 630+ on ranking round

Malawi 

Athletes: Areneo David (man)

Olympic record: 0 medals

Intel: Areneo, hand-picked from Coach Sally’s group of young men in Malawi to represent the landlocked African nation in a Tripartite place, is one of five Malawian athletes across three sports travelling to Brazil. Since 1992, the nation has only ever sent athletes for the athletics or swimming competitions.

“I’d like to be a coach. I had a dream I went to Mozambique as an archery coach,” he said when he arrived in Rio. First, he’s an athlete in Rio. And, sporting a brand-new sponsored bow and an ever-improving technique, hopes are high that he’ll hit the 640+ levels he’s displayed at home in Malawi.

Target: 630+ on ranking round

Zimbabwe 

Athletes: Gavin Sutherland (man)

Olympic record: 0 medals

Intel: Now a resident in the United Kingdom, Sutherland is the first Zimbabwean archer to qualify for the Games. One athlete from the nation competed in the event in 1980 and four in 1988 – but that was before the quota qualification system was brought in.

Sutherland was an archer until 1988 before becoming an international cyclist. He began archery again in 2010, qualified for the Games by finishing fifth at the 2016 African Championships, and said – in a video on the Zimbabwean Team’s Facebook page – that he wanted to use the Games to help Zimbabwe “become a stronger competitive nation and, one day, see more African countries shooting at the Olympics and Archery World Cups”.

Target: 630+ on ranking round

The archery competition at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games starts on the 5 August in the Sambodromo.

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