South Africa, Tunisia And The Seychelles Take Top Honours As The All African Games Draws To A Close
The 2011 All African Games in Maputo, Mozambique has drawn to a close with three gold medals going to South Africa, two to Tunisia and one to the Seychelles.
Allan Julie comprehensively won gold in the Laser Standard after he recorded eight wins out of nine races. Julie is a veteran of four Olympic Sailing Competitions and used his experience to good effect to seal a ten point victory over South Africa's Rudy McNeil. The bronze medal went to Rodney Govinden (SEY) rounding off a successful week in the Laser Standard for the Seychelles.
South Africa's 420 sailing team wrapped up their All Africa Games campaign in style winning the penultimate race 10, to claim the gold medal. The fifteen year old South African twins Eben and Johan Vivier did not have it entirely their own way with strong challenges particular from the second and third placed Angola teams of Gilson Tenazinha and João Montenegro and Matias Montinho and Paixão Afonso.
It was a nail biting end to the event for Angola's 420 teams who finished on equal points, with the tiebreak giving the silver to Montinho and Afonso.
Youssef Akrout (TUN) won the men's Laser Radial by 12 points over Stefano Murcia (RSA). The Tunisian won five races throughout the week and never finished out of the top three for a consistent week of sailing. Mohamed Midoun (ALG) came through in third place.
In the women's Laser Radial it was a battle between South Africa's Brigdet Clayton and Jess Deary. The latter took the lead early on in the regatta following three race wins, but after two disqualifications Clayton took the lead. Clayton managed to hold on and won gold with a race to spare.
In the female Optimist event Maria Mabjaia of the host nation secured the bronze medal after at most six months of sailing.
In February 2011 the Mozambique Sailing Federation imported 15 new Optimists, the first since independence. These were subsidised by the International Optimist Dinghy Association under its '6 for 5' scheme and in May IODA sent Nuno Reis IM from Portugal to give an instructor training course.
The Federation were so pleased with his input that they invited him to act as coach to the Mozambique team at the Games themselves. These initiatives have paid off with a medal which few would have expected, with Maria doing just enough in the final race to squeeze ahead of her rivals from Algeria, Zimbabwe and Angola. In the boys' event Deurry Mavimbe placed in the top half of the 18 boat fleet with a creditable seventh.
Boy's gold went to David Wilson (RSA) followed by Abdelkhalek Boussouar (ALG) and Rubin Heard (RSA). Ines Gmati (TUN) won the girls gold with South Africa's Emma Clark coming in second.
The legacy of the Games will be that over 50 Optimists will remain in Mozambique and, with the added inspiration of this medal, it is hoped that the country will be the latest in Africa to expand sailing.