Two Medals So Far for Algeria in the Beijing Olympics
Algeria has been quite successful in the recent years when attending the Olympic Games and it seems that they are once again on track to securing a few medals this year. The first ever gold Olympic Games medal that Algeria received was won by Hassiba Boulmerka in 1996, in the 1500m for women at the Atlanta Games. They have had many terrific athletes, such as Noureddine Morceli and Nouria Merah-Benida who both won gold medals for their country, and with two medals already in the bag, Algeria will be looking towards their remaining athletes to perform their best.
Boxing has also been a sport that Algeria has excelled in. The first Olympic medal ever won by Algeria in this discipline was a bronze medal in the light-heavyweight boxing division, by Mustapha Moussa. Another champion boxer was Hocine Soltani, who won bronze in 1992 and gold in 1996. In the 1984 Olympic Games, Algeria won two bronze medals; in 1992 they took home one bronze and one gold. Two gold medals and one bronze were won in 1996 and in 2000 they topped their achievements by winning one gold, one silver and three bronze medals.
So far, during the Beijing Games, Algeria has won a silver and bronze medal in Judo. Soraya Haddad won the first medal, a bronze in the women’s 52 kg Judo division, which was the cause of huge celebration, not only for Haddad but for the entire Algerian delegation. Amar Benikhlef followed in her footsteps by securing a silver medal in the men’s 90 kg Judo division. The Algerian women’s volleyball team put up a valiant fight against opponents Serbia, but could not hold off the Serbian attack and lost 25-14, 25-13 and 25-12. There is some hope in the boxing division, with both Newfel Ouatah and Abdelhafid Benchabla making it through to the quarter finals. Newfel Ouatah will be fighting in the 91 kg Super Heavyweight division on Monday, 18 August 2008; while Abdelhafid Benchabla will face his opponent in the 71-81 kg Light-Heavyweight division on Tuesday, 19 August 2008.
It is hoped that between the track athletes and the boxers that Algeria will be able to add a few more medals to their collection, and walk away from another successful Olympic Games. Algeria has shown their ability to be worthy competitors and it seems that every year they are growing in strength and diversity.