Local sports back on track in 2022 following Covid-19 pandemic |30 December 2022
● Female athletes dominate on the international scene
After a long break due to health restrictions as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, local sports fanatics flocked back local venues in 2022 as most sports disciplines resumed their calendar of activities, except for volleyball and handball which are still on hold due to ongoing maintenance work on the Palais des Sports.
As for international sports events, local female athletes dominated the scene in 2022, bringing home several medals and titles.
It was pugilist Arianna Memee who made the highlights after inscribing her name in the country’s record books for being the first ever woman to bring home an international medal in boxing, after competing at the 2022 AFBC African Men’s and Women’s Championships in Maputo, Mozambique.
Memee, who competed in the 69kg category started her journey at the championship in the quarterfinal where she beat Temnotfo Dlamini of Eswatini on points, before losing her semifinal bout by RSC (referee stopped contest) to Brigitte Mbabi of Congo.
Weightlifter Ruby Malvina also made the news after bringing home a gold medal from the 2022 African Weightlifting Championships held in Cairo, Egypt from October 28-31.
At the 12th Commission de la Jeunesse et des Sports de l'Océan Indien (CJSOI) Games held between December 4-11, in Mauritius, swimmer Khema Elizabeth won eight medals – three gold, one silver and four bronze –while handi-sport athlete Dinara Bonne won two gold medals in athletics.
Unifying power of sports
To commemorate this year’s International Day of Sport for Development and Peace (IDSDP) which takes place annually on April 6 and presents an opportunity to recognise the positive role sports and physical activities play in communities and in people’s lives across the globe, the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Family hosted a forum, gathering key figures and representatives within the local sports fraternity.
The event aimed at promoting the spirit of working together towards sports development in Seychelles to empower and strengthen sport values such as peace, compassion and unity today for a better tomorrow, took place at the Savoy Resort & Spa at Beau Vallon.
It was officially launched by Minister for Youth, Sports and family Marie-Celine Zialor in the presence of the principal secretary for youth and sports Ralph Jean-Louis, his counterpart for family Clive Roucou, chief executive of the National Sports Council (NSC) Jean Larue, chief executive of the Seychelles National Youth Council (SNYC) Penny Belmont and the president of the Seychelles Olympic and Commonwealth Games Association (Socga) Antonio Gopal.
Launching the working session, Minister Zialor noted that it has been proven that sports is an important tool in addressing social issues including community development, well-being, health, education, societal equity, sustainability and peace.
She explained that sports is part of society as an educational aspect, while it also forms part of human and social development.
This, she said, creates a sense of social unity, tolerance and integration, while it can also be the perfect vehicle for physical and socio-economic development.
In terms of the link between sports and the economy, Minister Zialor explained that with the right assessment and planning, sports has the potential to contribute a lot economically, thus becoming one of the main pillars, especially through sports tourism.
Seychelles finishes third overall in 2022 African Weightlifting Championships – African Nations Cup
The Seychelles women’s selection finished third at the 2022 African Weightlifting Championships held in Cairo, Egypt from October 28-31 with six medals ‒ three silver and three bronze ‒, while Ruby Malvina brought home a gold medal from the African Nations Cup which took place simultaneously.
The 2022 competitions were the 32nd men's and 21st women's championships.
Seychelles’ silver medals came courtesy of Joelita Coloma who competes in the 76kg category, after snatching 80kg and lifting 100k in clean and jerk for a total 180kg.
The category was won by Egyptian Roufida Fathi whose total was 210kg after recording 90kg in snatch and 120kg in clean and jerk.
The bronze medals were won by Seychellois Romantha Larue in the +87kg where she snatched 87kg and lifted 111kg in clean and jerk for a final total of 198kg, earning her the third place overall.
It was another Egyptian, Halima Abdelazim who won the gold medals with performances of 124kg in snatch and 145kg in clean and jerk, earning her a grand total of 269kg. Her compatriot Shaimaa Khalaf finished second with a total of 202kg after lifting 90kg in snatch and 112kg in clean and jerk.
As for Malvina, despite finishing fourth overall in her category, her performance of 105kg in clean and jerk was enough to earn her a gold medal at the African Nation Cup.
Coloma and Larue also won an extra silver and bronze medal apiece respectively at the tournament based on their performance in the African Weightlifting Championships.
Agricole claims 59kg gold medal, Malvina wins bronze, Larue captures silver at Mauritius International Open Weightlifting Championships
Clementina Agricole was the women’s 59kg weight category champion of the Mauritius International Open Weightlifting Championships 2022 as Seychelles captured three medals ‒ a gold, a silver and a bronze ‒ in Vacoas.
With a total of 177kg (77kg in snatch and 100kg in clean and jerk) Agricole won the 59kg weight category gold medal ahead of a South African who finished with 176kg.
Another Seychellois lifter, Ruby Malvina, who was competing in this same weight category, was ranked third with a total of 171kg (76kg in snatch and 95kg in clean and jerk) to claim the bronze medal.
There were five competitors in the 59kg weight category.
As for Romantha Larue, she finished second for the silver medal with 155kg (70kg in snatch and 85kg in clean and jerk) in the 87kg weight category.
The Mauritius International Open Weightlifting Championships 2022 also served as a qualification event for the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games to be held in Birmingham.
Basketball: Doubles for Beau Vallon Heat and B Challenge
Beau Vallon Heat and B Challenge are this year’s national champions of the men’s division one and women’s league respectively following their exploits in game three of the best-of-three playoff final series, while Anse Etoile are the men’s division two champions.
Beau Vallon Heat and B Challenge also achieved the doubles after winning the Land Marine Cup.
In game three of the best-of-three final series, the Heat defeated PLS Hawks 74-63, while Anse Etoile cruised past AB Boys 60-46 to claim victory and the title.As for B Challenge, they won 48-38 against rivals Anse Etoile Stars.
In the men’s division one competition, Beau Vallon Heat concluded the classification league on top, garnering 22 points from 10 wins and only two defeats from 12 matches played, pairing them with fourth-placed Drifters in the semifinals, while PLS Hawks concluded the preliminaries as runners-up on 21 points after nine wins and three defeats, for a rendez-vous with third-placed Baya in the semis.
In the best-of-three semifinal series, Beau Vallon Heat beat Drifters twice to sweep the series and book their final spot, while the Hawks needed a third and decisive match to eliminate Baya 2-1.
In the women’s competition, Anse Etoile Stars who finished on top of the classification league eliminated Mont Fleuri in the semifinal, while B Challenge eliminated HotShots.
In the finals, B Challenge won the first match 61-48, before Stars levelled matters with a 52-46 win in game two.
In the Land Marine Cup, Beau Vallon won their final match 70-65 over rivals PLS Hawks, making it their fourth consecutive wins in a row over the latter, while in the women’s final, B Challenge dominated Anse Etoile Stars to win 66-45.
In the men’s division two competitions, AB Boys grabbed the cup after defeating Anse Royale 47-37.
Jana Malbrook takes the SBF’s chairmanship
Jana Malbrook is the new chairperson of the Seychelles Basketball Federation, replacing Jean-Guy Alphonse who had been in the position for the past three years.
Malbrook was unanimously voted in to the post in Novembers during the Seychelles Basketball Federation (SBF) extraordinary general meeting (EGM) held at the Olympic House at Roche Caïman to elect a new head after Alphonse stepped down a few months ago.
Already a member of the SBF executive committee, Malbrook was responsible for 3x3 basketball.
Other than the new chairperson, the executive committee remains the same with Adrian Pillay as secretary general, Vali Ismael as treasurer, with Riard Balette, Biko Biong, Cyril Agrippine, Lina Lestrange (head of coaches commission), and Tracy Moustache (head of the National Basketball Technical Committee – NBTC).
IOIG gold medalist Daniel Victor passes away
Former PLS Hawks and Seychelles international player Daniel Victor passed away in 2022following a road traffic accident on Bois de Rose Avenue.
A loyal son of the PLS Hawks basketball team, Victor, more affectionately known as ‘Yellow’was also a member of the Seychelles national selection who won the country’s first and only gold medal at the 8th Indian Ocean Islands Games (IOIG) on home soil.
According to police report, following the accident, Victor, along with three passengers received treatment at the hospital and was later released.It was later during the same day that he was brought back to the hospital where he was certified dead.
As tribute for Victor, a charity match was organised at the Victoria Gymnasium featuring PLS Hawks against members of the national selection who won the country’s first and only gold medal at the Indian Ocean Islands Games (IOIG) in 2011 on home soil.
St Michel coach Nigel Moustache dies
Premier League team St Michel’s coach Nigel Moustache passed away on September 18, 2022, seven days after falling ill and admitted to the Seychelles Hospital.
Born on April 18, 1980, coach Moustache, 42, joined the St Michel senior team in 2018 after he, along with fellow coach Nigel Freminot, decided to leave St Louis in December 2017 following some irreparable differences with the management. The break-up happened even though the duo had achieved the league and cup double, but the management wanted them to work under new head coach Marc Mathiot since they did not hold a license A which is required at all African club competitions.
Irene Cesar passes away
Known to many as Rene, former footballer Irene, Gabriel Cesar passed away on Saturday April 23 following an illness. He was born on July 18, 1950.
A left-footed player, Irene, nicknamed ‘Karenous’, played as a left winger for the Rangers Football Club in the 1970s alongside his brother Jeris César.
They then joined Mont Fleuri along with their brother Alain César following the regionalisation of sports in the early 1980s. With teammates Dolor Ernesta, Gerard ‘Dede’ Tranquille, Wix Cupidon, Marc Jeremie, Jemmy Louange, Dan Frichot, Michel Charles, Philip Nourrice and Terrence Stravens to name but some, they dominated local football before St Louis took over the reign from them.
Irene also played for the Seychelles national team and he was a member of the squad who won the silver medal at the First Indian Ocean Islands Games in Reunion in 1979.
Mervyn Laporte loses battle to cancer
Seychelles lost one of its greatest sportsmen Mervyn Laporte who left this world on the night of Thursday January 20 after taking his last breath at around 7pm at his home at Mare Anglaise, Beau Vallon.
Mervyn followed in the footsteps of his father Pat Laporte to play football for Rovers in the early 1970s alongside players like Gonzague D’Offay and Tony Hoareau. According to reports, both father and son featured on the team sheets and lined up for matches against opponents like Ascot in those days. It was a rare feat in sports in Seychelles at that time and even nowadays.
It was under the leadership of Gerard Hoarau that Mervyn and teammates Lewis Betsy, Collin Whiting, Patrick Marguerite, Ralph Volcère, Terry Sandapin, Cyril Kilindo, Charles Alcindor, Basil Savy, Steven Biscornet and the rest upped their game to become the number one team in Seychelles.
With the regionalisation of sports in the early 1980s, Mervyn played football for his district side Beau Vallon before leaving Seychelles for Canada, England and Saudi Arabia to work but he still played football occasionally and was on the verge of signing for a club there just before he decided to return to Seychelles in the mid-1990s.
His love for Rovers had not died as he immediately joined the team who had been brought back to life by Terry Sandapin with the re-introduction of clubs here in 1993.
Mervyn also had a love for tennis as he served on the Seychelles Tennis Association executive committee and did some free coaching as well.
It was Mervyn who introduced his son Damien Laporte to tennis at the tender age of three, teaching him the game on the beach. Quite often, one could see the pair training on the beach at Beau Vallon and at the tennis courts at the Roche Caïman sports complex.
Noah Chilidra and Brenda Larue win this year’s Mahe crazy challenge
Football referee Noah Chilidra and Brenda Larue are the grand winners of this year’s Mahe Crazy Challenge organised jointly by the Seychelles Challenge and Outward Bounds Association and the community, leisure and sports for all unit within the National Sports Council.
In the men’s category, Chilidra completed the challenge in 9 hours 1 minute 37 seconds (9h01:37), finishing ahead of Malagasy Gerard Jaomaro who clocked 10h12:05 to finish second. Keven Larue finished third overall in 10h20:39, while Greth Estico was fourth overall in 11h07:48, with Sisira Kumara finishing fifth in 11h09:41.
In the women’s challenge, Larue, who finished second in the previous challenge, clocked 12h13:45 to finish first, ahead of Anita Amasogno who was second in 12h25:19.
Zsaklin Miklos finished third overall in 14h04:30, finishing ahead of last challenge’s winner Nelda Freminot who this time finished fourth in 14h12:29.
Seyboks crowned champions of inaugural rugby tournament
Seyboks are the champions of the inaugural Cable & Wireless Island Nations Cup with games played throughout the year, precisely on Saturdays at Stad Popiler.
Made up South African expatriates, the Seyboks teamaccumulated a grand total of 21 points from five wins and a single defeat throughout the series. They converted 92 tries and conceded 37.
The Seychelles made up of locals finished second overall on 12 points from four wins and two defeats from six outings, converting 44 tries, while conceding 56 for a nett -12.
The International Barbarians (featuring all other nationalities presently residing, or working in Seychelles) finished third overall on 11 points after three wins and three defeats in six matches. They converted 48 tries and conceded 63 for -15 nett.
Madagascar (made up of Malagasy expatriates) ended the competition at the bottom with only three points from six defeats in as many matches. They converted 30 tries and conceding 58 for a nett -28.
Hendrik-Jan Mosca of Seyboks finished the competition with the most tries scored – 17 – while Dale Hampson and Jesse Muthoka of the International Barbarians finished joint second with 13 each.Johannes Hanekom of Seyboks finished third overall with 10 tries converted.
10 local athletes at the next Special Olympics World Games
Seychelles will be represented at next year’s Special Olympics World Games which will be held in Berlin, Germany from June 16-25 June by 10 athletes who will take part in bocce, track and field and power lifting.
The athletes were selected during day two of the 11th National Games of the Special Olympics Seychelles which also coincided with International Day of Persons with Disabilities, which is on December 3.
Team Seychelles at the Games will be made up of Donelle Ernesta (girls athletics), Jean-Marc de Silva and Anil Quatre (boys athletics), Graham Jacques, Anielle Charlette – from La Digue – Peter Valentin, Maggie Estico – from Praslin – Aleandro Croisée, Suzie Sarakkya – from Mahe – (bocce).
Jacob Chang-Time and Rosie Coralie are the back-up athletes, while the spot for a power lifter is still open.
The Special Olympics World Games offer the opportunity to unite the world like no other event can, where people with and without disabilities, people of different nations, cultures, political views and religions meet and can overcome existing prejudices with the power of sports.
For the event, Germany will be welcoming 7,000 Special Olympics athletes and unified partners from approximately 170 countries to compete in 24 sports. The athletes will be supported by more than 3,000 coaches and 20,000 volunteers.
No medals for Team Seychelles at Commonwealth Games
There were no medals for Team Seychelles at the 2022 Commonwealth Games, held in Birmingham, England between July 28 and August 8, but boxer Keddy Agnes, judoka Dominic Dugasse and 400 metres hurdle specialist Ned Azemia were recognised by the Seychelles Olympic and Commonwealth Games Association for their achievements.
Seychelles was represented at the Games by 27 athletes who competed in eight sporting disciplines, precisely athletics, boxing, cycling, judo, squash, swimming, weightlifting and table tennis.
None of our local athletes managed a podium finish in Birmingham, while swimmers Adam Moncherry and Tyler Fred managed to finish first in two of preliminaries or heats.
Paddlers Laura Sinon and Mick Créa teamed up to also register a win at the Games in the mixed doubles competition.Créa and Sinon played their first match in the round of 64 at the National Exhibition Centre against Stephen Reilly and ToueaTitana of Fiji, winning 3-2 (11-9, 12-14, 11-3, 5-11 and 10-12), before being eliminated.
Swimmer Adam Moncherry finished first in his heat in the men's 50m freestyle where he clocked 24.10 seconds to lead heat number four and set a new personal best, while Fred finished first in his race, despite not qualifying for the final of the men’s 200m freestyle.Fred clocked 1 minute 58.46 seconds (1:58.46) to finish first in the heat.
Ned Azemia made it to the final of the men's 400m hurdles, after qualifying in heat number two, clocking 51.27 seconds.In the final, Azemia finished seventh overall in 51.71 seconds.
Seychelles’ flag bearer at the Games’ opening ceremony, boxer Keddy Agnes, who competed in the over 92kg – super heavyweight – missed out on bronze medal after losing his quarterfinal fight 0-5 to Sagar Sagar of India.
In judo, Praslinois Dominic Dugasse missed out on a bronze medal after losing his bronze-medal contest in the men’s +100kg category against Liam Park of Australia.He finished fifth overall in the category.
In the elimination round of 16, Dugasse defeated Jamaican Steven Moore by ippon, before losing his quarterfinal fight against Kody Andrews of New Zealand.After the repêchage, Dugasse was drawn against Kenyan Kalvin Afude and the Seychellois heavyweight won by ippon, qualifying for the bronze medal contest where he lost to Park.
The Games were the largest ever held, with 72 participating nations and ticket sales of 1.2 million.
Team Seychelles wins 45 medals at 12th CJSOI Games
The Seychelles team at the 12th Commission de la Jeunesse et des Sports de l'Océan Indien (CJSOI) Games held between December 4-11, in Mauritius finished third overall behind Reunion who dominated the medals table, and second-placed hosts Mauritius.
In total, Team Seychelles collected 45 medals – 12 gold, 12 silver and 21 bronze.
The Seychelles delegation was welcomed at the Seychelles International Airport by Minister for Youth, Sports and Family Marie-Celine Zialor who is also the president of the CJSOI, principal secretary for education services Merna Eulentin, along with family members and friends.
At the Games, it was the female athletes who produced the most outstanding results with swimmer Khema Elizabeth clinching eight medals – three gold, one silver and four bronze – and handi-sport athlete Dinara Bonne who won two gold medals in athletics.
In a ceremony to thank the athletes, Minister Zialor said as a sign of encouragement, the young medallists will each be given a token of appreciation in monetary form.
The gold medallists received R10,000 per medal, while a silver medal is worth R5,000, with R2,500 for a bronze medal.
The highlight of the ceremony was the handing over of the Games’ flag to President Wavel Ramkalawan by principal secretary for youth and sports Ralph Jean-Louis since Seychelles will be hosting the 13th Games in 2025.
Ahmad Moncherry and Clementina Agricole win Mr Seychelles and Miss Seychelles Bikini 2022
After two years of absence due to the health restrictions amid the Covid-19 pandemic, bodybuilding and physique fanatics were back on cheering mode during the Mr Seychelles and Miss Bikini Seychelles 2022 contest held at the National Sports Council Exhibition Hall at Roche Caïman.
Ahmad Moncherry and Clementina Agricole were crowned Mr Seychelles and Miss Bikini Seychelles 2022 respectively at the competition hosted by the Seychelles Elite Pro Amateur Bodybuilding and Fitness Federation (SEPABFF), gathering 13 athletes who competed in novice bodybuilding, men’s junior and senior physique, Miss Bikini, as well as men’s senior bodybuilding.
In the bodybuilding competition which brought the fans present on their feet, three posers namely Moncherry, Wallace Dorasamy and Andy Anthony contested for the top prize.
In the end, the panel of judges decided that it was Moncherry who displayed better qualities, earning him a grand total of 13 points to emerge as the winner.
With 23 points, Dorasamy finished as runner-up, ahead of third-placed Anthony who accumulated 36 points.
In the Miss Bikini contest, three contestants, namely Agricole, Perle Azemia and Tara De Lafontaine strutted their stuff for the top prize.
Weightlifter Agricole convinced the judges who awarded her 17 points to finish first, ahead of De Lafontaine who accumulated 22 points, while with 33 points Azemia finished third overall.
Caf president Dr Patrice Motsepe visits
In 2022, the president of the Confédération Africaine de Football (Caf) Dr Patrice Motsepe visited the country and paid a courtesy call on President Wavel Ramkalawan who is also the patron of Seychelles’ football.
Their discussion was mostly dominated by Seychelles ‘bid to host the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (Fifa) Beach Soccer World Cup 2023.
Dr Motsepe said the support of the private sector is also crucial in the development of local football since Seychelles is competing against many countries on the continent and the world that have huge resources.
The partnership between the football leadership, including the local federation and the government is something which he described as excellent and noted that he is grateful for.
He said most of the successful football nations in the world have resources and financial support and that Seychelles needs more resources to continue growing as a football nation, especially in the area of youth development.
“Without resources and financial support, there will always be difficulties,” added Dr Motsepe who further noted that resources are crucial, especially in youth development which lead toward talent detection for future potential players.
Dr Motsepe said the most thriving football countries in the world started by giving opportunities to their youngsters to enjoy football at a very young age, allowing them to assimilate the basics and at the same time to grow and develop within the game of football.
He commended SFF president Elvis Chetty for his role in helping Seychelles’ football grow at all levels over the years; especially the commitment to develop football among the youths, and also for the country’s bid to host the Fifa Beach Soccer World Cup 2023.
He said all the African countries are behind Seychelles to win the bid and host the event which said will allow the rest of the world to discover Seychelles and will also contribute immensely towards the country’s economy, especially in the tourism sector where it will gives Seychelles huge visibility worldwide.
As part of his visit, Dr Motsepe visited the headquarters of the SFF at Roche Caïman, along with all the training facilities and the beach soccer arena, and he also attended the SFF’s Grassroots Programme Award, involving over 100 kids, before leaving the country in the afternoon.
Seychelles to host 2025 Beach Soccer World Cup
Seychelles won the bid to host the 2025 Fifa Beach Soccer World Cup, the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (Fifa) and the announcement was made by Fifa president Gianni Infantino during Fifa’s latest council meeting in Doha, Qatar ahead of the World Cup final between Argentina and France.
Mr Infantino announced the United Arab Emirates (UAE) as hosts for the 12th edition of the Beach Soccer World Cup next year and Seychelles for the 13th edition in 2025.
Cosafa nation Seychelles was bidding along with Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates.
An announcement was expected in March this year but that was later deferred to October, which was then postponed again to Friday’s meeting.
With the backing of government, the Seychelles Football Federation had been pushing hard to win the bid to host the Fifa Beach Soccer World Cup in 2023, but instead got the 2025 edition.
Bidding for the Fifa Beach Soccer World Cup 2023 started in October 2021.
This is the first time the tournament will be staged on the African continent.
Seychelles exits BSAFCON competition after 11-4 aggregate loss to Barea
Seychelles did not feature among the final eight at the Africa Beach Soccer Cup of Nations held in Vilankulo, Mozambique from October 21 to 30, after being eliminated by the Barea of Madagascar who won both the home and away leg matches.
After losing the home match 2-5 at the Roche Caïman Beach Soccer Arena, the Seychelles selection suffered another heavy 2-6 defeat in their away match played at the Mahajunga Beach in Madagascar, exiting the competition 4-11 on aggregate score in the qualifying round.
Kevin Betsy kicks off a new era with football’s Red Devils
The outstanding career of Seychelles-born footballer Kevin Betsy took another major step forward when he was appointed the first-team manager of Crawley Town Football Club, West Sussex, on a two-year contract.
Kevin signed up to the challenge of steering the English Football League Two club to the top after having spent the previous season with London club Arsenal, managing the Under-23 side.
Prior to that the highly-rated coach spent five years in the England youth setup running the Under-15s, 16s, 17s and 18s teams.
Kevin is the son of former Seychelles national captain Lewis Betsy, publisher of Seychelles Life.
La Passe SFF Premier League Championship winners, Bel Air win Championship title
After winning the Inner Islands title, La Passe became the winners of the Seychelles Football Federation Premier League Championship following an easy 3-0 win against Foresters without having to break a sweat.
Winning the match by walkover, La Passe brought their points tally to 15 after four victories in five matches, scoring 10 goals and conceding 6.
Following their 2-1 victory against LightStars, St Michel finished as runners-up with 13 points after 3 wins, a draw and a loss.
Meanwhile, Bel Air FC’s wait for first division football ended this year when they beat Glacis 3-1 in their last match of the season to secure a Premier League return.
The wait for a return to playing top flight football had been a very long one. Bel Air Football Club has last played in the country’s first division in 1996 ‒ three years after the reintroduction of club sports in Seychelles in 1993. After finishing a place before last in the first division, Bel Air met second division runners-up Ascot on Tuesday December 3, 1996 and lost the play-off match 1-4.
Seychelles women's team achieve Fifa ranking in loss to Singapore
Despite registering a defeat on a 2-6 score against hosts Singapore, the Seychelles women’s football team had a reason to celebrate ‒ they earned their Fifa ranking after the game as Natacha Bibi scored twice.
Playing in the opening game of the FAS Tri-Nations Series 2022 (Women’s) tournament at the Jalan Besar Stadium, the Seychelles team were up against the Lionness of Singapore who produced a show to remember for the 1,500 fans. It was world number 135 Singapore’s first time playing in front of a paying public and their first victory in an international ‘A’ fixture since a 1-0 win over Maldives at the FAS International Women’s Quadrangular in 2018.
Despite her team’s defeat, Seychelles’ head coach Angeline Chua, a former Singapore international, was happy they had achieved their objective of getting a Fédération Internationale de Football Association (Fifa) ranking.
“It’s hard to describe. But the team are celebrating this achievement for sure! This is because the Fifa ranking was first introduced in December 1992 and the Seychelles men’s national team were ranked in 1993. As the Confederation of African Football (Caf) women’s football strategy slogan says ‘Its Time it’s Now’ to grow the women’s game, the Seychelles Football Federation has taken a step forward to put in place a women’s football strategy to increase the participation of female in football in the country since 2020. It's really good because we need to have a benchmark of where we are going so to be in the Fifa ranking is the first step towards that.”
Gary Pouponneau becomes Seychelles’ third pro golfer
Gary Pouponneau is Seychelles’ third professional golfer after he graduated as a fully-fledged qualified Professional Golfers Association class A player under the Professional Golfers Association of South Africa.
After completing a three-year course, director of golf at Constance Lemuria Seychelles on Praslin, Pouponneau received his certificate at the Bryanston Country Club in South Africa.
“I’m very proud of myself upon realising such an achievement, being a PGA member with an internationally recognised qualification and belonging to the PGA family.
“I look forward to grow the game of golf by touching lives through this beautiful game and more exposure to international tournaments. The journey during the three years to become a PGA professional was a tough and challenging road as I had to face lots of challenges, but one I will surely cherish and hold on for the rest of my life,” Pouponneau told Sports NATION.
Pouponneau was accompanied in South Africa by fellow Seychellois professional golfer William Weidner who is also a PGA player but qualified under the Great Britain & Ireland Professional Golfers Association.
The other Seychelles professional golfer is Yves Emond who qualified under the Belgian PGA.
Weidner was Pouponneau’s mentor during the three years of his studies as all golfers attempting the PGA degree need mentors who have qualified prior to oversee their course work, preparation for assignments, written exams and practical.
Pouponneau’s performance could be described as outstanding and his hard work paid off as he finished second in his class out of 33 graduates for the year 2022.
At the Bryanston Country Club in South Africa, Pouponneau and Weidner joined forces with two fellow South African pros to finish third overall out of 18 teams of four in a Four-ball Alliance competition played prior to the graduation ceremony.
Seychellois golfer Jaden Deltel rewrites history books
Young Seychellois golfer Jaden Deltel kept rewriting the history books as he became only the second player in 70 years to win every single one of his matches ‒ 12 ‒ and was awarded the Most Valuable Player accolade as his Central Gauteng team were declared the winners of the South Africa Under-19 Inter-Provincial tournament.
Played at Mbombela golf course which has a rich tournament history and a fine layout that proved to be challenging and a true, but fair, test of the young players’ abilities, South Africa Under-19 Inter-Provincial tournament was contested over a week of competitive golf (December 12-16).
Playing in division A, Deltel’s Central Gauteng team managed by Michael Fassen, also comprised Pascal Gunther, Amilkar Bhana, Vuyisani Makama, Stefan Jacobs, Grant Labuschagne, Hannes Strooh and Filip Sakota.
Seven provinces competed against each other in division A over five days from Monday December 12 to Friday December 16. The morning sessions saw pairings from each province competing against a pairing from another province. In the afternoon, there were one-on-one matches (singles). A win earned each winner one point for his, a tie was worth half-a-point and a loss 0 point.
The province with the most points at the end of the tournament was declared the winner.
Jaden’s province, Central Gauteng, were declared winners and Jaden personally made history by being only the second player ever in 70 years to win every one of his pairing and singles matches ‒ 12 in total. No surprise then he was awarded the Most Valuable Player (MVP) accolade.
Speaking top Sports NATION, Deltel, 18, said: “It was the best top best 48 junior golfers in South Africa, and I knew I had to play superb golf and contribute to my team’s goal of winning the event. I had a lot of self-belief going into the tournament. I was happy that my game was on very good form. My desire to win and my confidence increased even more as the week went on and I’m delighted to have made such an important impact on the team’s success. My partner for the morning pairing sessions was Filip Sakotar (Italian origin) and we brought incredible energy and fire on to the course.”
Deltel added: “It just feels awesome after all my hard work, determination to come out on top winning the MVP award. I won 12 out of 12 matches and was the only unbeaten player of the week.
“I feel I’ve come a long way from my roots at Anse Royale, Mahe, Seychelles (laughs) and my dream is to play professional golf at the highest level in the coming years.”
This was the second big win for Deltel in South Africa this year. In January, he was the winner of the inaugural Pawpa Sewgolum Cup played in association with Nomads at Selborne Golf Club, near Durban in South Africa. This was Deltel’s first under-19 win.
In fact, it took him two extra holes, but a solid approach on his third trip down the 18th set to nail the birdie putt to seal victory in the Pawpa Sewgolum Cup played over two days ‒ Thursday and Friday January 6 and 7 ‒ on a tricky coastal course. A total of 36 holes were played on day one and the remaining 18 the following day.
Six gold medals for Team Seychelles at the 2022 Cana Zone IV swimming and open water championships
Six gold medals and a new national record were the highlights of the Seychelles swimming selection at the Confédération Africaine de Natation (Cana) Zone IV swimming and open water championships held in Lusaka, Zambia from April 14-18.
Hosted by the Zambia Swimming Union (ZASU) the competition gathered swimmers from 13 countries making up the Cana Zone IV (four) who battled both in the pool and in the lake.
Seychelles’ gold medals came courtesy of Joshua Miller in 200m breaststroke for men 17-29 years in 2 minutes, 29.62 seconds (2:29.62).
The other gold medallists were Therese Soukup 800m freestyle for women 15 to 24 years in 10:07.84, Damien Payet in 5km open water swim (12 years and over) and 800m freestyle for men 15 to 24 years with a time of 9:10.22, Tyler Fred in 100m backstroke for men 17 to 19 years with a time of 1:03.32, and the boys’ relay team of Joshua Miller, Alain Vidot, Adam Moncherry and Tyler Fred in the 4x50m freestyle relay for 15 years and over with a time of 1:37:10 to set a new Cana record.
Seychelles also won four silver and four bronze medals at the competition.
The silver medallists were Joshua Miller (100mbreaststroke 17-29 years with a time of 1:06.96), Therese Soukup in the 3km open water swim (12 years and over) and 400m freestyle (15 years and over with a time of 4:52.92), and Adam Moncherry in the 50m butterfly (17 to 29 years).
As for the bronze medals they were won by Alain Vidot in the 3km open water swim, Therese Soukup in the 200m freestyle (17 to 29 years) with a time of 2.17.45, Damien Payet in the 400m freestyle (15 years and over), and Joshua in the 50m breaststroke (17-29 years) with a time of 28.5 seconds.
Overall, Seychelles finished 11th with 496.50 points, after the girls’ team finished 12th with 168 points and the boys’ squad ranked 10th with 328.50 points.
Team Hungary emerge as best at 5th Fina World Junior Open Water Swimming Championships
Hungary emerged as the best country at the fifth Fédération internationale de natation World Junior Open Water Swimming Championships which took place at the Beau Vallon beach, harvesting a total of seven medals.
The competition which began on Friday officially ended yesterday with two mixed-team relays consisting of athletes from each gender completing a 5km course (4x1.25km).
In the 14-16 years category relay, the team from the United States of America (USA) emerged victorious in 1h13:9.80 seconds, finishing ahead of the Germans who completed the course in 1h13:21.30, while Turkey finished third in 1h13:24.00.
In the mixed category, team Hungary clocked 1h11:20.10 to finish first, pushing Germany into second position in 1h12:53.30, while Italy finished third in 1h13:27.50.
In the overall ranking, Hungary collected 153 points from seven medals ‒ four gold and three bronze ‒ to finish first, ahead of second-placed USA who garnered 124 points with four gold medals won.
Italy finished third overall on 100 points from four medals – two silver and two bronze, while Germany finished fourth overall on 95 points after winning three medals – two silver and a bronze.
Also with two silver and a bronze, Turkey collected 59 points to finish fifth overall, ahead of Spain who also garnered two silver and a bronze, while Mexico finished seventh overall on 40 points with one silver medal.
Other than medals and trophies for the swimmers, the event’s organising committee, along with the Seychelles Swimming Association (SSA), also received tokens of appreciations from Fina for hosting the event.
Seychelles was represented at the fifth Fina World Junior Open Water Swimming Championships by three male swimmers, namely Thierry Payet, Damien Payet and Nathan Nagapin.
In the boys’ 5km race (14-15 years old) Thierry Payet could only manage a 30th spot finish out of 36 swimmers.He took 56 minutes 59.10 seconds (56:59.10) to complete the two laps of 2.5km each, while race winner Nathan Szobota from the USA clocked 48:50.90.
As for Nagapin, he competed in the 7km race where he finished 36th overall in 1h40:09.20. The race was won by Hungarian Hunor Kovacs-Seres in 1h16:02.10.
Damien Payet took part in the 10km race and finished 24th out of 36 swimmers in 2h04:22.60. Hungarian David Betlehem was the winner in 1h53:10.30, followed in second and third positions by Italians Pasquale Giordano (1h57:42.80) and Giuseppe Ilario (1h57:44.20).
Lucca Marzocchi finishes fifth in Africa, 17th worldwide at the Youth Optimist African Championship
Luca Marzocchi, 15, was Seychelles’ best performer at the 2022 International Optimist Dinghy Association (IODA) African Optimist Championship.
At the Club Mykonos in Langebaan, South Africa from September 24 to October 1, Marzocchi took the 17th overall position out of 66 sailors and was ranked fifth out of 31 males in Africa after four days of racing.
Hit with a standard technical penalty (STP) worth seven points in the first race for a loose bailer after finishing fifth to bring his score to 12 instead, Marzocchi’s best finish was a fourth place in the 10th and last race.
After his worst finish, 36th place, had been discarded, Marzocchi finished with 163 points in his first competition in international waters.
Had he not lost some valuable points in some races, Marzocchi could have finished among the medals in South Africa, but unfortunately for him he missed a golden opportunity to make himself known in this category on the continent and get his name in the history books.
Speaking to Sports NATION, Marzocchi said he is proud of himself but at the same time he missed a good opportunity to win a medal.
“I had some good races but then the wind died and I found myself in a difficult position. It has been a very good learning experience for me and I sincerely think I could have won a medal since I was second overall in Africa at one point. Frankly, I think I have done well,” Marzocchi told Sports NATION.
Seychelles was represented by two other young sailors at the championship ‒ Joshua Alcorn and Odysius Melanie.
Melanie was ranked 32nd with 291 points (12th in Africa) after his worst finish - 55th place – had been discarded and his best result was 10th place in the fifth race.
As for Alcorn, he was ranked 48th overall with 368 points (20th in Africa). His best finish was in the fourth race with a 14th position, while his worst result was 57th.
The African champion is Mozambican Antonio De Souza Junior with 120 points and he was ranked eighth worldwide.
The silver medal was taken by Angolan Valdir Moreira Francisco with 125 points (ninth worldwide) and another Mozambican, Eiilicio Manhique took the bronze medal with 152 points (14th worldwide).
Six young athletes benefit from Olympic Solidarity scholarships
Six young Seychellois athletes are recipients of the Olympic Scholarships for Athletes ‘Paris 2024’ programme for the quadrennial 2021–2024.
The objective of the scholarships is to help elite athletes in their preparation and qualification for the Games of the XXXIII Olympiad, Paris 2024.
Ned Azemia, Sharry Dodin (athletics), Shain Boniface (boxing), Felicity Passon (swimming), Joelita Coloma (weightlifting) and Loïc D'offay (yachting) are the six athletes who have received the scholarships which offer them a fixed monthly grant for their training and qualification costs.
Compiled by Roland Duval