28 January 2014

Smaller Winter Olympic delegations: 1 Africa #Sochi2014

After looking at the debut Winter Olympic nations it is time to look at some of the smaller delegations, those with 5 or less athletics so I am looking at them continent by continent. First alphabetically is Africa.

Khelfi in action

Twenty one year old Mehdi-Sélim Khelfi will enter the stadium as the first Algerian to take part in two Winter Olympics. He will once again take part in the 15km cross-country skiing. Though this time he will be taking part in the classical rather than freestyle version. He finished 84th in Vancouver 4 years ago, but has a career best finish from that year of 26th in an individual sprint event from Germany in 2010 .

Born in France he made his debut on the world cup circuit last season having qualified in 2010 from the lower ranking events. He of course carried the flag into the stadium four years ago with only Greece and Albania going before and will most likely be repeating that honour when the Games come to Sochi, so he will be one of the first athletes to be seen on TV screens once again.


Lamhamedi winning gold in the Winter Youth Olympics
Neighbouring Algeria to the west is Morocco is sending two teenage skiers to take part in the Alpine events. The first is 17-yeare-old Kenza Tazi who is currently at high school in Albertville doing a sports studies course. It was here that she developed her interest in skiing and she will take part in the women's slalom and giant slalom.

The other Moroccan competitors is Adam Lamhamedi who was born to Canada to an Algerian father. In 2012 at the Youth Winter Olympics he won the boy's Super-G. This made his the first African athlete to win a winter related Olympic medal. He has largely been competing on the junior men's circuit in Canada this season but raking in the top six in all but one of the races he has taken part in against the best of Canada and the USA's young skiers. At eighteen he is already shown a natural ability for the sport and may well be one to look out for in Pyeongchangfour years from now.

Togo and Zimbabwe are also sending small delegations from Africa but they are featured in the debut nations blog post from earlier this month.

No comments:

Post a Comment