Anthony Obame, received as a hero in Gabon
The silver medallist of the Men’s +80 kg category at the London 2012 Olympics, the Gabonese Anthony Obame, was received as a hero in his return to his home country last weekend. The fighter became the first Olympic medallist ever in Gabon’s history.
Last August, Obame clearly beat Kaino Thomsen-Fuataga from Samoa in the first round of the Olympic tournament by 9-2 and made his way to the quarter finals, where he faced the Cuban Robelis Despaigne for a place in the semis. Despaigne showed a really high level, but the Gabonese fighter managed to win the match thanks to a golden point in the extra period. In the last 4 round, Obame got rid of the Turkish Bahri Tanrikulu 3-2 in a really close combat and guaranteed a medal for his country. In the big final, he tried his best and finished the intense battle against the Italian Carlo Molfetta with 9-9 in the final score. No points were scored during the extra period and the judges had to decide the winner, who ended up being Molfetta.
After the success in London. Obame returned to his country last weekend and felt the heat of Gabonese people from the very first moment, as hundreds of fans and most of the political authorities of the country were already expecting his appearance at the arrivals hall of the Libreville International Airport. Anthony, who couldn’t hide his fascination for such a wonderful reception, went up on a stage which was specially set up for the occasion and gave a speech to the dedicated crowd.
But the most special moment of Obame’s return to Gabon was still to come. The day after his arrival, he was given the most important award in the country: the gold medal of Gabon. Anthony received the decoration from the hands of the President of the country, Mr. Ali Bongo, in front of thousands of fans who packed out the streets of Libreville. All his family members and his coach, the Spanish two-times Taekwondo World Champion Juan Antonio Ramos, were also present at the event.
In his third day in Gabon, Obame was invited to attend a football match in which he became the main attraction, as he sat next to President Bongo and was the chosen celebrity to give the medals to the winners of the event.
After three days of absolute joy in his home nation, Anthony and his coach Juan Antonio Ramos went back to France, where they are training hard to achieve more triumphs in the near future. Once back in France, Ramos declared that Obame and himself had experienced “an amazing 3-day journey that will never forget”.
Obame and Ramos met by chance almost two years ago. Juan Antonio had just been recluted as member of the French National Team coaching staff and started to live in Toulouse, while Anthony had just accepted an invitation to join the INSEP (French Sports Performance National Institute) in Paris. But when Obame arrived in France, the INSEP had no vacancies available for him, so he was transferred to Toulouse, located in the south of the country, next to Spain, where he started to train with Ramos. The spanish coach knew how to prepare the Gabonese fighter for the African Olympic Qualifiers, so he registered Obame for different International Opens around Europe in which the athlete gained a lot of experience and started to raise his Taekwondo level. All that work gave its results when Anthony confirmed his access to London by winning the African Qualifiers. In the Summer Olympics, his performance was better than ever before and he managed to win the silver medal after losing only in the big final against the Italian Carlo Molfetta.
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