Surfing: The Moroccan Ramzi Boukhiam Prepares for Tokyo Olympics

The Moroccan surfing champion, Ramzi Boukhiam, said he was proud and honored to represent Morocco, the Arab world and Africa in the surfing competitions that will be one of the new disciplines of the Olympic Games (OG) in Tokyo in 2020.

In a statement to MAP, Boukhiam expressed his joy at this unprecedented achievement to realize his dream of qualifying for the Olympics, adding that his greatest ambition is “to honor Morocco, the Arab world and Africa through a distinguished representation at this major global sporting event”.

The 26-year-old Agadir native made history by becoming the first Moroccan and Arab sportsman to win a qualifying ticket for the Tokyo Olympics scheduled for next summer (July 26-August 9), after taking first place in the fifth round with 14.50 points in the qualifying competition for the Tokyo Olympics held on the beach of Miyazaki in Japan from 7 to 15 September.

During this event, at the end of which eight qualification cards were awarded (4 for men and 4 for women) with one place for each continent (Europe, Asia, Africa and Australia, America is not involved), Boukhiam managed to reserve a place for the African continent. This young surfer distinguished himself at the ISA World Surfing Games in Japan by competing against big names such as the American Kolohe Andino (5th in the world) and the Brazilian “sharks”, Italo Ferreira (1st) and Gabriel Medina (2nd), while the South African Michael February, Considered “the only African to be able to challenge the Moroccan surfer’s domination of the continent”, came out of the competition, allowing Boukhiam to reserve the only qualification card attributed to the African continent and to occupy the 6th place with great distinction.

Alongside Ramzi Boukhiam, the African continent will be represented in the Olympic surfing competition by South African Jordy Smith (3rd in the world). “I came to Miyazaki because I knew I had a real chance to win this place. I had to do better than the other Africans. I’d already beaten them, so I knew I could do it,” he said.

Apart from his passion for surfing, Boukhiam takes pleasure in overcoming all the difficulties and obstacles that may confront him, which will “only increase his determination to achieve his dream,” he added. Ramzi Boukhiam’s ambition is to offer the Kingdom an Olympic medal, hoping that he will be the first Moroccan athlete to win a medal in this newly created discipline at the Olympic Games, following the example of the Karate category in which Morocco has many chances to achieve good results.

On the road to the 2020 Olympic Games-Tokyo, preparations for the Olympic event will begin in his hometown, where Boukhiam will take part in the first professional competition of the “Pro Taghazout Bay” between 25 January and 1 February, which will be marked by the organization of series of qualifying competitions for the 2020 Surfing World Cup in the presence of the biggest international names.

This exceptional event is a major and important step in the journey of the participants in this professional competition, who will compete to reach the next round of the World Championship.

Boukhiam said that his coach and national trainer, Aziz Bouchgua, has prepared a training program from February to July to be ready for the Olympic event.

In addition to intense training, Boukhiam will take part in major international events included in the “World Surf League” competition, which is similar to the professional tennis league, especially in Brazil, Australia (four competitions), New Zealand, Portugal (three competitions) and Chile. The champions who have booked a ticket for the Olympic Games until 20 December will represent, in addition to Morocco, South Africa (Jordy Smith), France, Australia, Brazil, Costa Rica, the United States, Japan, New Zealand, Peru and Portugal. One of Ramzi Boukhiam’s most outstanding achievements is the title of European Cadet Championship in 2012 and vice-world champion in the same category in 2013 behind Brazil’s Gabriel Medina, currently ranked second in the world.

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