February 8, 2016 By Sahr Morris Jr.
President of the Sierra Leone Wrestling Association (SLWA), Prince Sualley, has re-echoed the concerns by other African Wrestling Federations over their participation in both the 2016 Africa Wrestling Championship and the Olympic qualification.
According to Sualley, the United World Wrestling (UWW) has made it difficult for them by not combining the African Championship in Egypt from March 2 to 7 and the Olympic qualification in Algeria scheduled to run from March 30 to April 4.
Recently the Sub-Saharan African Wrestling Federations said they are forced to attend both competitions because the African Championship is a prerequisite to the Olympic qualification, and that they might end up not attending either due to lack of funds.
In solidarity with the African Wrestling Federations, Sualley said it will be very difficult for them to access funds considering the fact that the Olympic qualification in Algeria is barely two weeks after the African Championship.
Another concern raised by Sualley and his Sub-Saharan Federation counterparts is that since 2012, the North Africa Wrestling Federations consisting of Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Sudan and Tunisia have been rotating the African Championship between themselves.
They explained that now in 2016, the African Championship is again scheduled for Egypt followed by the Olympic qualification in Algeria.
They recalled that the previous African Championships combined with the Olympic qualification held in the Northern part of Africa since 2012 are as follows: Morocco (2012), Chad (2013), Tunisia (2014), Egypt (2015), adding that Egypt will again host the African Championship.
Their observation is for the UWW to create a level-playing ground for All African Wrestling Federations as the North Africans are always favoured, which results to them having more wrestlers at various Olympic Games.
The African wrestling associations said in this Olympic year, the rest of Africa needs to be given a fair chance and opportunities of securing Olympic qualification slots. They added that in terms of officiating, other sub-Saharan referees are sidelined and not carried along in major tournaments.
They also urged President of the African Federation of Associated Wrestling Styles (CALA), Fouad Meskout, to focus on how to make other countries, aside North African countries, host Africa Championships.