By Caoilte de Barra
Last month the Algerian Federation of Kickboxing, MMA & Similar Sports held their National MMA Championships in the province of Batna in western Algeria. Fourteen regions were in action at the competition across the Junior and Senior categories on May 21.
Federation President Abdelkader Rachid Ben Bahi, alongside Yassine Derradj and Rabah Rezzoug, were in attendance to oversee the event. The organisation of the tournament was a resounding success. Prior to the tournament, each region held qualifiers and one athlete in each weight category qualified to represent their region in the finals.
In the Junior categories, there were thirteen entries in total. The Oum El Bouaghi team topped the medal table with three medals; two gold and one silver, one for each entry. The team was the smallest in the Junior category and consisted of Ghanem Anes Abdelmalek, Shakhri Walid and Yaghreb Haroun.
The Senior portion of the competition had fifty-five entries overall, and entries ranged from Strawweight through Heavyweight. Host team Batna boasted the largest team with thirteen entries in total. However, the Alger team of nine shone, with seven of their athletes securing a spot on the podium, followed by the hosts, who finished up with a medal tally of six.
Both the Biskra and Skikda team each had just one entry in the tournament and still managed to come out with some silverware. Hadouf Miloud and Bouelkamh Ilias both returned home with Bronze following their efforts. The largest division of the competition was Lightweight. Of the ten entries, Moubarek Mohamed came out on top to give team Alger their second of three gold medals on the day.
Overall it was a massive leap forward for the Algerian federation and the development of the sport in Algeria. After being impressed by the level and standard of competition in the National Championships. They now aspire to form a national team through the athletes who participated and hopefully compete in an international competition in future.