Doping scandal dampens top results
2015 has been a big year for sports in Seychelles as our athletes competed at various international tournaments, with some pulling of some great results.
The highlights included qualifications for the Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games in Brazil next year, and gold medals at the All-Africa Games and Indian Ocean Island Games.
The biggest disappointment has surely been the four doping cases in weightlifting, especially Ruby Malvina who had thrown herself into the spotlight but in the end her successes were tainted by the doping scandal.
In this end-of-year review we profile the successes and downfalls of Seychelles’ sports during the year 2015.
Rodney Govinden and Jean-Marc Gardette qualify for Rio Olympics
Rodney Govinden and Jean-Marc Gardette became the first two Seychellois athletes to qualify for next year’s Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil from August 5-21, 2015.
To achieve the feat, they had to finish among the top two in their respective events at the African Championship of Sailing which took place in Algiers, Algeria. The qualifiers took place at the Algerian National Sailing Centre from December 4-11.
Scott André claimed a seventh place finish at the Optimist African Championship held in Oran, Algeria. The competition which began on September 30 and ended on October 8 saw four young Seychellois sailors compete alongside 67 other contestants from around the African continent.
A total of 10 races took place in the Optimist class where Andre finished with a total of 120 points after claiming three top-10 positions. His highest finish was eighth place, while the lowest was 25th.
All-Africa Games: 4 gold, 3 silver, 5 bronze medals
Weightlifter Ruby Malvina was the top performer for the team, claiming two gold medals in clean & jerk (109kg) and Olympic total (189kg) as well as one silver medal in snatch (80kg) to become the first Seychellois athlete to win two gold medals in the same year at these Games.
Lissa Labiche clinched the women’s high jump gold medal by holding off the challenge of three-time champion Doreen Amata of Nigeria, as she cleared the bar at 1.91m.
The other gold medal was won by cousins Juliette Ah-Wan and Alisen Camille in the badminton women’s doubles event.
Keddy Agnes (boxing +91kg), Ruby Malvina (weightlifting – snatch), Clementina Agricole (weightlifting – clean & jerk) won the country’s three silver medals, while the five bronze medals were won by Clementina Agricole (two in weightlifting – snatch and total lift), Alexus Laird (swimming), Juliette Ah-Wan and Georgie Cupidon (badminton – mixed doubles) and the Seychelles badminton team of Ah-Wan, Camille, Cupidon, Steve Malcouzane, Kervin Ghislain and Cynthia Course in the mixed team event.
Meanwhile, at the Commonwealth Weightlifting Championship in Pune, India, Malvina won gold in the 58kg category. Her total lift of 197kg (85kg in snatch and 112kg in clean & jerk) was all she needed to overcome the challenge of silver medallist Wini Jenlyn Tejo of the Solomon Islands who lifted a total of 194kg (84kg in snatch and 110kg clean & jerk).
But Malvina’s great performance at the All-Africa Games and the Commonwealth Championships were all put into question after she failed three doping tests. She is expected to relinquish the medals won at these two events.
IOIG 2015 – 25 gold, 39 silver and 32 bronze medals
The final medal haul of 96 medals – 25 gold, 39 silver and 3 bronze – at the ninth Indian Ocean Island Games (IOIG) in Reunion could not be compared to that amassed in 2011 when Seychelles hosted the quadrennial Games locally, but our athletes gave it their all in Reunion, where 96 medals were won in total.
Lissa Labiche was the first gold medalist for Seychelles at the games, winning the high jump event with a height of 1.81m before going on to claim her second gold with a best effort of 6.26m in the long jump event.
Jude Sidonie was the only other track & field athlete to claim gold and he did so with a jump of 2.05m in the high jump.
Boxers Keven Kilindo and Keddy Agnes were winners in their respective categories. Kilindo powered to a 3-0 victory against Reunionnais Florent Kaouchi in the 91kg weight category and Agnes defended his gold medal won in front of his home fans in 2011 by defeating Emmanuel Payet also of Reunion. Seychelles finished with another three silver and three bronze medals.
In sailing, Allan Julie retained his Laser standard gold medal after nine races in Reunion and claimed a second gold medal in the team event alongside Meggy Gertrude, Roy Govinden and Rodney Govinden in the Radial mixed team racing. Seychelles also won five silver medals in sailing.
Alexus Laird and disabled athlete Stephanie Mondon were the gold medallists in swimming. Laird claimed gold in the 50m backstroke (29.48 seconds), the 100m backstroke (games’ record time of 1:03.52) and 200m backstroke (games’ record of 2:20.79). Mondon’s gold medal came on the last day of the competition, where she won the 50m freestyle handisports in a time on 42.90 seconds.
In table tennis, Anniessa Benstrong won gold in the women’s singles event by defeating Réunionnais Audrey Picard on a 4-1 score.
Once again, it was weightlifting which brought Seychelles the most gold medals – 12 in total. They were won by Clementina Agricole, Ruby Malvina, Janet Georges and Steven Baccus who claimed four apiece. A further 17 silver and four bronze medals were won in this sport.
Finally, only a single gold medal was won in team sports this time and the feat was achieved by the women’s volleyball team comprising Petrina Victor, Yvonne Legaie, Melina Crispin, Atila Bonnelame, Jerina Bonne, Nathalie Agnes, Marielle Bonne, Petra Richard, Manuella Monthy, Antoinette Quatre, Flora Lesperance and Tina Agathine. They defeated Madagascar 3-1 (22-25, 25-23, 25-18, 25-11) in the final.
Host of gold medals in athletics
Seychelles won two gold medals through Lissa Labiche and Dean William at the Botswana National Athletics Championships. Known for her exploits in the high jump, Labiche triumphed in the long jump this time with a distance of 6.20 metres in the championships held at the University of Botswana in Gaborone.
As for Williams he won the discus contest with a best throw of 39.70 metres. The country’s team also returned with four other medals of different colours – two silver and two bronze.
Labiche clinched the gold medal at the 2015 South African Open Championships in Potchefstroom with a new Seychelles record of 1.92m. Meanwhile, young male high jumper Noris Brioche also put in a good performance to win the junior category gold medal as he out-jumped three South Africans with an effort of 2.03m.
Former Female Athlete of the Year Labiche also won gold with a performance of 1.85m at the 5th International Athletics Championship in Saint-Denis, Reunion.
At the Kenya National Athletics Championship at the Safaricom Stadium, Kasarani, jumps specialist Labiche won two gold medals, while both Jude Sidonie and Debrah Servina recorded bronze medal performances. Labiche’s first gold medal performance came in her second favourite event, which is the long jump, where she leapt over a distance of 6.25m.
Clearing the bar at a height of 1.85m in the high jump event saw Labiche claim her second gold medal of the competition. She finished 15cm ahead of her closest competitor, Caroline Cherorich, who only cleared 1.70m.
It was in the men’s high jump that Jude Sidonie managed to win bronze. He could only clear the bar at a height of 2.05m to finish way behind gold medal winner Mathew Sawe who jumped a massive 2.24m, while a height of 2.10m saw Nicanor Cheruiyot win silver.
The other bronze medal for Seychelles came courtesy of Debrah Servina whose throw of 37.23m in the discus event earned her third place on the podium.
High jumper Brioche won Seychelles’ only medal at the 2nd Youth African Championships held in Mauritius. Brioche managed a jump of 2.01m, which was enough to earn him a silver medal at the competition.
Mont Fleuri Dawgz, B Challenge champions
The men’s national basketball side comprising professional Abdel Sylla and Andrew Rath, competed in the Afro-Basket qualifying tournament in Zimbabwe in February, but they failed to achieve qualification.
Locally, Mont Fleuri Dawgz won their first league title after a turbulent league season, while B Challenge and Cascade Bullets were the women’s and men division two league winners.
In bodybuilding, Ziad Al Adou Mekdachi was ranked ninth in his category at the fifth Arnold Classic Europe Amateur 2015, held in Madrid, Spain.
Competing in the up to and including 85kg category, Mekdachi did not progress to the second round scoring 48 points to be ranked ninth out of 17 flex posers.
Young bodybuilder Mervin Dugasse produced a great performance to finish in third position in a competition in Rodrigues. Dugasse, who earlier this year won the Seychelles Bodybuilding Championship, competed in the -90kg category at the competition.
Dugasse also won the award for best abdominal across all seven categories.
The other bodybuilder at the competition was none other than highly regarded veteran Joelen Valentin who competed in the 50 years+ age category, where he finished in second place among five competitors.
In local competitions, Dugasse won the Seychelles Bodybuilding Championship, while Ziad Meckdachi retained the Mr Seychelles title.
Bonne first Seychellois medallists at Commonwealth Youth Games
Eighteen-year-old boxer Lorenzo Bonne became the first Seychellois athlete to win a medal – a bronze – at the Commonwealth Youth Games and he achieved it in Samoa.
Bonne reached the semifinal and lost to England’s Mohammed Harris Akbar to earn a bronze medal.
Five local boxers represented Seychelles at the Strandja Memorial Tournament in Sofia, Bulgaria and although no medals were won, the experience gained could prove valuable in preparation for future events.
Reigning Sportsman of the year Andrique Allisop, Keddy Agnes, Alva Botsoie, Dave Cesar and Young Male Athlete of the Year Keven Kilindo are the five boxers who defended Seychelles’ colours there.
Former world chess champion, Grandmaster Zhu Chen, visited local chesslers this year.
She is the first woman to beat a male world champion in chess and probably in any sport.
Among the delegation were president of the African Chess Federation, Lewis Ncube, and the president of the African Zone 4.3, Kazzie Msukwa along with Keenese Katisenge, who is a member of the World Chess Federation (Fide).
Five cyclists represented Seychelles at the African Championship held in South Africa and despite some good performances the team were left frustrated due to the event’s organisation.
Fadi Confiance, Edrick Roucou, Dominic Arrisol, Peter Alphonse and reigning cyclist of the year Ahmad Arissol managed some good performances.
The peak of the performance was from Peter Alphonse who finished in first place among the junior first year cyclists in the 65km road race but was ranked ninth overall among all juniors.
But Alphonse’s life came to an abrupt end when he was involved in an accident at Montagne Posée.
In football, Seychelles successfully hosted its first ever international beach soccer tournament – Caf Beach Soccer Championships and Cosafa Beach Soccer Championship. Both competitions were won by Madagascar, while Seychelles did make a good impression on their debut.
At the IOIG in Reunion, the men’s national team failed to impress as they bowed out in the group stage. The women’s teams fared much better, surprising a few on their way to a fourth place finish.
In the Cosafa Championship, Seychelles lost all their group games as they bowed out of the competition early.
Locally, matches of the Barclays league division one could not be completed due to fixture congestion, but St Michel are the winners after beating St Louis in a decisive match. No teams have been demoted as the division will have 12 teams as of next year.
Seychelles wins Pro Am at MCB Open
In golf, the team of Damien Hoareau, Eddie Micock, Jerry Jean-Baptiste and second round professional William Weidner were the winners of the Pro Am at the MCB Open played in Mauritius.
As far as the golfers themselves are aware the achievement of the team is unprecedented for Seychelles golf at any level of golfing competition.
Seychelles won two bronze medals at the IOIG tournament held in Reunion. William Weidner, Richard d’Offay, Jemmy Esther and Jerry Jean-Baptiste formed part of the Seychelles team.
Seychellois Jerry Jean-Baptiste finished in 25th place at the 2015 World Amateur Golf Meeting Audi played at the Golf du Bassin Bleu in Reunion.
At the IOIG, the Seychelles handball men’s team missed the final after losing their semifinal match on a score of 25-28 against Mayotte.
Two Seychellois karatekas competed at the World Tang Soo Do Association (WTSDA) Region 14 tournament which took place from September 24-28, 2015 in Maputo, Mozambique under the theme ‘Respect’.
Representing Seychelles in the tournament which included competitors from South Africa, Botswana and Mozambique were Seychelles Northern Tang Soo Do competitors Kevin Domingue (2nd Gup – red belt) and Steve Marie (6th Gup – green belt).
Marie who competed in two categories – sparring and hyung – went on to win the sparring gold medal and a bronze in hyung.
Domingue competed in three different categories – namely sparring, hyung and weapons. He won a silver medal in sparring and two bronze medals in the hyung and weapons category.
With 25 years experience in the sport, Sheila Chang-Time was the winner of the women’s tête-à-tête competition of the international petanque tournament Seychelles hosted. She took the title ahead of compatriot Marie-May Savy with a better set score difference of +36 after they both collected six wins and two defeats in the competition played on a round-robin format. Savy finished with +32.
Chang-Time then teamed up with Marie-Ange Joubert to finish second in the women’s doubles.
In the men’s triplette, the team of Takamaka Leslie Low-Toy, Collin Esparon and Roy Meriton finished second behind a Mauritian trio, while Roland Renaud, Iven Anacoura and Joseph Sinon were ranked third.
Tryers’ Joseph Charles and Auguste Louise were runners-up in the men’s doublette won by the Reunionnais pair of Phillipe Boisseau and Teddy Hoareau.
The special Olympians of Seychelles made the nation proud as they returned from the Special Olympics World Games in Los Angeles, United States of America, with nine medals – five of the gold hue, three silver and one bronze.
Bernard Larue clinched two of Seychelles’ five gold medals in the 100m race (14.67 seconds) and 4kg shot put throw (8.22m).
The other gold medallists were Margaret Quatre (100m walk in 30.13 seconds), Rosie Coralie (bocce singles with 13m) and Daniel Accouche (4kg shot put throw with a distance of 6.49m).
Accouche (100m race in 17.14 seconds), Alberto Joubert (bocce singles with 5m) and Marie Jacqueline Rose (bocce singles with 11m) were the three silver medallists.
The bronze medal was won by Rosie Coralie and Marie Jacqueline Rose in bocce doubles with a distance of 5m.
Young table tennis player Kim Hoareau won Seychelles’ first medal at the 2015 International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) African Junior and Cadet Championships held in Mauritius. A bronze medal was what Hoareau had around her neck after beating her Mauritian opponent to finish in third place in the mini-cadet category. The game score was 3-0.
Damien Laporte and Shaun Andriamaro joined forces to twice win the boys’ U14 doubles of both the first and second ITF/CAT (International Tennis Federation/Confederation of African Tennis) U12/U14 tournaments played at the centre national de tennis de Petit Camp, in Mauritius.
They twice beat the Mauritian duo of Kevan Appasamy and Christopher Fok Kow 2-0 (6-1, 6-1) and 2-0 (6-3, 6-3) in the finals.
Laporte also won the boys’ U14 singles of the first tournament by defeating Mauritian Christopher Fok Kow 2-0 (6-2, 7-5), but lost the second final to the same opponent on a 1-2 (2-6, 6-2, 4-6) score.
Meanwhile, the two young players failed to make the top-10 in Africa in their age groups at the 38th African Junior Championships held at the Marsa Tennis Club in Tunis, Tunisia,
Laporte finished 13th and Andriamaro was ranked 30th out of 32 players in the singles category. In the doubles, they beat Namibia 2-0 (6-3, 6-2) and then lost in the quarterfinals against Ivory Coast. The competition was organised by the International Tennis Federation and the Confederation of African Tennis.
Brierley finishes second in ATU duathlon
Simon Brierley did Seychelles proud by coming out second in the duathlon at the African Triathlon Union (ATU) Triathlon/Duathlon African Championships in Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt.
Brierley finished the race in a time of 55 minutes 44 seconds (55:44). The winner was Tunisia’s Homrani Wajdi in 53:34 with Egypt’s Mohamed Rabie getting the bronze medal.
Meanwhile, Nick Baldwin finished fifth in a total time of 8h59:44 at the 30th anniversary of Ironman Australia held in Port Macquarie just north of Sydney.
He also finished sixth overall at the inaugural Ironman Taiwan held in Kenting, Taiwan with a time of 8h45:59, just over five minutes from the podium.
After finishing in ninth place in the 2015 African Club Championships, Arsu, who had an all-conquering season as they won all the local competitions, retained the Indian Ocean Club Championship title after defeating Madagascar’s Stef’Auto d’Atsiranana 3-2 (25-20, 16-25, 23-25, 27-25, 15-10) in the final.
Seychelles qualified with four teams – two males and two females – for the zonal phase of the qualifiers of the Confederation of African Volleyball sub-zonal beach volleyball continental cup.
Bijoux brothers Bernard and Gilly make up the country’s men’s ‘A’ team, while the men’s ‘B’ team comprise Erron Flore and Henrico Ernesta. The women’s ‘A’ team are composed of Maia Biong and Terille Songoire, and the women’s ‘B’ team have Lyn Tirant and Tania Elizabeth as teammates.
The qualifiers of the sub-zonal phase will proceed to the zonal phase of the 2016 Summer Olympic Games qualification. The winners of the CAVB Continental Cup will earn a direct ticket to the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games.
In local competitions, Beau Vallon and Arsu both retained their league titles, but the biggest talking point was Premium Spikers’ 3-2 win over Beau Vallon in the Land Marine Cup final which finally stopped Beau Vallon’s domination over their arch-rivals.
Sportswoman of the Year Clementina Agricole finished in 26th position overall with a total of 191kg in the women’s 63kg weight class at the World Weightlifting Championships in Houston, United States of America.
She managed to lift 81kg in snatch at the third attempt and her best effort in clean-and-jerk was 110kg for a total of 191kg to settle for 26th position out of 36 lifters.
Jean Larue elected Rado Indian Ocean president
Seychellois Jean Larue was elected president of the World Anti-doping Agency’s regional anti-doping organisation (Rado) of the Indian Ocean for a four-year mandate.
Mr Larue had before being elected president served the Rado Indian Ocean as administrator and board member.
Another Seychellois, Paul Nioze, stayed on as secretary and he will be responsible for daily Rado operations and will report to the chairperson and the board.
They left us …
Raymonde Julie, a former female basketballer with the Beau Vallon, Anse Etoile Stars and Seychelles national team, lost her fight against cancer.
She was born on September 26, 1962.
Former national team cyclist Brian Sinon, 36, was pronounced dead after he was found lying next to his car at Dan Zil, Bel Ombre.
Sinon was part of the Seychelles national cycling team for a while and represented Seychelles at various international events including the Tour de Maurice, the Indian Ocean Island Games, and the African Championship among others.
He was a close teammate of former great Hedson Mathieu with whom he formed part of different teams like Mohan Shopping Centre, PLS Riders and later Strong Riders.
Seychelles lost one of its most promising talents after cyclist Peter Alphonse tragically lost his life in a road accident at Montagne Posée.
According to an official police statement the accident occurred when an 18-year-old driver of a Hyundai Tucson lost control of his vehicle and fell in a gutter.
Alphonse, who was a passenger in this car, got trapped under the vehicle and was certified dead by the doctor at the Anse Boileau health centre.
Always among the top finishers during the weekend races, Alphonse constantly challenged for the top places in the overall rankings.
Alphonse, a resident of Anse Boileau, specialised in hill climbs and rode for the Life Cycle club, where he had top cyclist Ahmad Arrisol as teammate.
Better known as Zirondel, former footballer Leonel Ravinia died aged 50.
He started his football career with Pointe Larue before joining Rivière Anglaise (RA) in the country’s first division during the time when sports here were played under the regionalisation system in the 1980s.
A skillful striker with lightning speed, Ravinia, who also had a knack for scoring beautiful goals among those a number of bicycle kicks, even had a trial at professional level in Belgium.
He was also coach of the RA team in the 1990s.
Also, former Seychelles Swimming Association member Phoebe Mangroo passed away at the Seychelles Hospital where she had been admitted.
Three of her children, Steven, Lisa and Shane, have all been part of the country’s national swimming team and have taken part in many international competitions.
Former footballer Kenneth Khan also died earlier this month.
Source : Seychelles NATION