12th African Games in Rabat, Morocco Passon wins 200m backstroke gold medal | 22 August 2019
Female swimmer Felicity Passon has won Seychelles its first gold medal at the ongoing 12th African Games in Rabat, Morocco.
Seychelles’ most decorated athlete in the 40-year history of the Indian Ocean Islands Games with 11 medals – seven gold, three silver and one bronze – won in the Côte d’Or swimming pool in July in Mauritius, Passon won the gold medal in the 200m backstroke event on the first day of the 12th African Games’ swimming competition in the Mohammed V Olympic Swimming Pool.
Passon touched the wall first in the women’s 200m backstroke final in 2 minutes 14.55 seconds (2:14.55) to finish ahead of South African Samantha Randle (second in 2:15.55) and Zimbabwean Stacie Lee Robyn (third in 2:22.50).
“I am really happy to be Seychellois and really proud of myself and my team. I am so happy to have won the first medal and the first gold medal for Seychelles. I wish all the team good luck and courage,” Passon told Sports NATION last night via Whatsapp.
Fourth to seventh places were occupied by Logaine Abdellatif of Egypt (2:22.64), El Tahawi Sara Ain of Algeria (2:24.43), Koenig Camille Monique of Mauritius (2:26.80) and Mbatha Sinelithemba of South Africa (2:32.15). Yasmine Dgaimesh of host country Morocco was disqualified.
The women’s 200m backstroke was a straight final after a Malagasy swimmer decided not to compete in the preliminaries scheduled for yesterday morning, leaving just eight competitors who all qualified for the final in the evening.
Still in swimming, Khema Elizabeth swam the women’s 100m freestyle and clocked 1 minute 04.17 seconds (1:04.17) to be ranked sixth out of seven in the second heat.
Mathieu Bachmann stopped the clock at 54.31 seconds in the men’s 100m freestyle to finish sixth out of eight swimmers in heat number four and Samuele Rossi was ranked fifth out of eight in heat number three of the men’s 50m breaststroke with a time of 29.30 seconds.
In boxing, Jovet Jean was to meet Ghanaian Samed Shakul last night in a light heavyweight (81kg) fight for a place in the quarterfinal.
Meanwhile, the opening ceremony of the 12th African Games was held Monday night at the Prince Moulay Abdellah stadium, in Rabat.
Passon was the Seychelles Team’s flag bearer at the colourful ceremony which saw all the countries marching past to showcase their contingent as well as a bit of their culture.
This is the first time that the African Games are hosted by Morocco following the country's readmission to the African Union.
With more than 7,000 athletes from 54 nations in Rabat, this is also the largest ever African Games which are generally regarded as Africa's version of the Olympic Games.
Some events will also serve as qualifying tournaments for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
The competition will end on August 31.
Meanwhile, Ghana has already been selected as the host of the 13th African Games in 2023. Accra, the capital of Ghana, will be hosting the African Games for the first time.
At the 11th African Games in Congo Brazzaville in 2015, Seychelles made history as the athletes produced our nation’s best ever performance on the continent, claiming 12 medals – four gold, three silver and five bronze – to finish in seventh place on the overall medal standings.
Female weightlifter Ruby Malvina won two gold medals and one silver medal in the 58kg weight category.
Lissa Labiche received took the women’s high jump gold medal, while cousins Juliette Ah-Wan and Alisen Camille teamed up to win the women’s doubles gold in badminton.
Ah-Wan also won the bronze medal in the mixed doubles with Georgie Cupidon as partner and then teaming up with Cupidon, Steve Malcouzane, Camille, Kervin Ghislain and Cynthia Course to claim the mixed team event bronze medal.
Clementina Agricole claimed three medals – one silver and two bronze. Swimmer Alexus Laird won a bronze medal in the 50m backstroke and boxer Keddy Agnes won a silver medal in the +91kg class.