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Soraya Haddad earns first medal for Algeria

By Nazim Fethi for Magharebia in Algiers – 11/08/08

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Algerian judoka Soraya Haddad won the first Olympic medal for Algeria, Africa, and the Arab world on Sunday (August 10th), taking bronze in the -52kg category at the 2008 games in Beijing.

"This is a big day for me. I hope it won't be my last Olympic medal," said 23-year-old Haddad, who finished third after defeating Kazakhstan's Sholpan Kaliyeva. Despite overwhelming emotion, she made it a point to wish her fellow Algerian athletes at the Games the best of luck.

Haddad was congratulated by Mohamed Meridja, President of the Algerian Judo Federation; Mustapha Berraf, President of the Algerian Olympic Committee, who was unable to hold back tears of joy; and her coach, Hamid Chaalal. Her achievement created a mood of celebration among the Algerian delegation in Beijing, as it represents a turn in Algeria's luck after a fruitless 2004 appearance in Athens.

On Monday, the Algerian press made much of this first medal for Algeria. Liberté wrote: "Rightly considered Algeria's best hope for a medal in these Olympics, judoka Soraya Haddad has succeeded in winning a bronze medal, which is worth its weight in gold as the first Olympic medal won by Algeria since the Sydney Games."

Le Temps described Algeria's first medal as "an unprecedented achievement for African and Arab women's judo. After boxing and athletics, judo is the third sport in which Algeria has achieved success at the Olympics. It was a historic day for Haddad and Algerian judo, which finally has an Olympic medal after tasting success at the 2005 World Championships in Cairo, thanks once again to Haddad along with Abderrahmane Benamadi, who won bronze and gold respectively."

"My goal is the same and has been for a long time," Haddad told the Dépêche de Kabylie days earlier in South Korea. "I want to do better than I did in Athens and try to make it onto the podium. For the national team the aim is to go as far as possible."

In the World Super Cup, Soraya Haddad has always done Algerian judo proud, the paper continued. She finished third in Hamburg in 2005, second in the same city two years later, and second in Paris just weeks ago. Her most precious victory prior to the Olympics, however, was her gold-medal finish at the 2005 Mediterranean Games in Almeria, Spain.

Le Jeune Indépendant wrote: "Standing 155cm tall, the diminutive Algerian showed terrific pluck yesterday before losing her semi-final match against North Korea's An Kum Ae. 'I can’t find the words to express how I feel. I’m very moved to have won the bronze... I’d like to dedicate this medal to the people of Algeria and my whole family,' the Algerian champion said yesterday just after winning her bronze medal."

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  1. Anonymous thumb

    Beka 2012-1-21

    sala alikoum soraya congratulations for the bronze medal at the Olympic Games. I am a judo second dan and i really know how it feels to win an important contest. i cried when i saw you wining the the fight, i love your te guruma because it's my favorite technique also. wellah i am so proud of you, keep up the good work my sister and this time 2012 you will inchallah get the gold medal because you can do it with the help of allah. bye for now sister.


  2. Anonymous thumb

    mechacha 2010-11-3

    Thank you, Soraya.


  3. Anonymous thumb

    sese 2010-2-21

    Bravo Soraya Haddad!


  4. Anonymous thumb

    ايمان 2009-12-19

    I address my call to all Arab athletes to develop their skills. We can reach top ranks in the Olympics. Ayma from Algeria, a karate woman.


  5. Anonymous thumb

    نينا 2009-11-8

    Hopefully, the national team will win over Egypt with 3.


  6. Anonymous thumb

    saal younes 2008-12-25

    Thank you. You are the best. I have done judo for six years. I have not done a single competition. So, what should I do? Should I stop or not? Thank you so much. I am 15 years old. -God willing, bye-bye all


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    mazarimalha 2008-11-4

    Thank you, Soraya. This is but the harvest of all the effort you devoted to preparing for these games. You are the pride of Algeria and also Africa! Algeria and Kabylie are proud of you, my sister. May this medal beckon others to go to the Olympic Games for Algeria.


  8. Anonymous thumb

    mazarimalha 2008-11-4

    I am very happy about Soraya Haddad. I hope she keeps up the good work. Hi to all the Algerians. I love all the Algerians. –Bye!


  9. Anonymous thumb

    amel 2008-9-10

    Bravo Soraya! Pitouha loves you!


  10. Anonymous thumb

    farid 2008-8-25

    Soraya is the world’s best champion!


  11. Anonymous thumb

    Farid 2008-8-25

    Thank you for having run these few comments in praise of my sister! What an honour this is, guys! She has my thanks! Jasmine, are you my cousin?


  12. Anonymous thumb

    اخوكي في الله 2008-8-25

    In the name of God. Prayer be upon the messenger of God. I would like to say to Algerian officials to respect the Algerian constitution which says that the religion of the state is Islam. I am also a fan of the judo sport. I love sports in general. I ask officials in charge of building sport centres to dedicate a special area for women sports. The sister Haddad was victorious and trains with her sisters. She belongs to the family of judoka. Praise be to God.


  13. Anonymous thumb

    jasmine 2008-8-22

    I am very proud of you, my dear cousin. We adore you so much. I am so happy. Bravo! Congratulations Soraya Haddad!


  14. Anonymous thumb

    carolinaanita 2008-8-21

    'Way to go ALGERIA!!!!!!!!!!!!!


  15. Anonymous thumb

    mustapha 2008-8-20

    Thank you so much, Soraya!!! You have honoured us in these Olympic Games. If I were in the Algerian president’s place, I would give you two billion dinars. Keep up the good work!


  16. Anonymous thumb

    عبد الصمد من جزائر الأبطال 2008-8-17

    I am proud of the results achieved by the Algerian champion and all the Algerian champions. Despite marginalization, they are continuously making victories and titles. More than this, they are making merits from nothing. At the same time, I am sorry for the Arab absence in this important international event especially the backward Gulf States in general. Although they have significant financial resources, but there is a serious sport and cultural stagnation. This has caused a distortion to the image and sport history of our champions because these Arabic countries are associated with us internationally. You know that we Arab Maghreb countries have nothing to do with these base countries if we don’t say that they aren’t countries but rather clans and tribes.


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    farouk 2008-8-16

    Bravo Soraya! You have brought a smile back to your hometown, El-Kseur, and Algeria as a whole. Thank you a thousand times over. Good luck in your future in sports. -Bye


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    محمدسالم 2008-8-15

    By God. We bless Arabs every step of victory they make. We are now are busy with other things than the Olympics given the deteriorating conditions in our country. We have for example a catastrophic coup in Mauritania perpetuated by depraved officers to plunder and steal.


  19. Anonymous thumb

    le kabyle 2008-8-15

    Thank you, Soraya! This is but the fruit of all the effort you devoted to preparing for these games. You are the pride of Algeria and Africa too! Algeria and Kabylie are proud of your, my sister! May this medal be an invocation for others in the Olympic Games from Algeria and also Morocco and Tunisia.


  20. Anonymous thumb

    Dahmane 2008-8-15

    Every woman has chosen or is given a role to play in society Mr Nasredine. Not every woman is expected to join the olympics and win a medal to be considered a worthy person. However, Soraya is good at what she does by collecting a bronze medal. This is only achievable through hard work and discipline and believe me mothers deserve more then a medal for the hardship they endure to bring up children and look after their families. So, let's focus on the judo medalist and hands off the other women please because many of them are also champions at what they do and they desirve praise too.


  21. Anonymous thumb

    farid idrici 2008-8-14

    Bravo Soraya! You have honoured us in front of the whole world! Bravo, once again! Congratulations! I hope you have more successes! Thank you!


  22. Anonymous thumb

    Moha 2008-8-14

    Congratulations for this first medal, which, I hope, will lead to others! This is beautiful proof of your courage!


  23. Anonymous thumb

    احمد 2008-8-14

    No my brother Jawad, not all Arabs are lagging far behind. Algeria is up to now in the rank 27 in the world. This is honouring. We wish it more success, God willing.


  24. Anonymous thumb

    Abdelrahim 2008-8-13

    Congratulations, my sister! You are the pride of Algeria!


  25. Anonymous thumb

    nasr eddine 2008-8-13

    It is an honour for women and Algeria unlike those who hide themselves indulged only in cooking and Lhaf.


  26. Anonymous thumb

    Maroua 2008-8-13

    I am so happy that he won this medal! He deserved it!!!


  27. Anonymous thumb

    المهندس/ حسن البهكلي 2008-8-13

    Congratulation to Arabs and Algeria for this achievement. The champion Soraya Haddad succeeded where men failed. Just to correct, the daughter of a million and half a million martyrs.


  28. Anonymous thumb

    إشراق 2008-8-12

    By God, it is nice. Congratulations.


  29. Anonymous thumb

    جواد عبده 2008-8-12

    Arabs are far from Olympics. Therefore, their participation isn’t expected in the Olympics. With their acts, they will distort the true image of Arabs. Let’s be reasonable. Let’s be reasonable. This attitude will leave us barefooted in the end and in the last rank of the world community.


  30. Anonymous thumb

    Ibn Sina 2008-8-12

    Bravo Soraya! You are the hope of the Algerian people. We know how to make sports champions too! Keep up the good work! Keep us wishing!


  31. Anonymous thumb

    tachafin 2008-8-12

    Congratulations to all the Amazigh of Bejaia and Amazighs in all the states of the Maghreb for this achievement realized by Soraya. Congratulations to our Algerian brothers. We hope that our young men and women get more medals in Beijing. From Dubai, Yachfine. Life to Amazighs.


  32. Anonymous thumb

    ebatt 2008-8-12

    Praise be to God of the creatures...Go forward Arabs...Thanks to the champion Soraya Haddad...Daughter of the million martyrs.


  33. Anonymous thumb

    جويبر 2008-8-12

    Soraya Haddad has honoured Algeria.


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