Gicharu, the Commonwealth silver medallist, was edged out 19-16 by his 18-year-old rival in the flyweight (52kg) bout in a result that crushed his dreams of being the second Kenyan to win boxing gold following Robert Wangila Napunyi’s 1988 success.
“It was the will of God. I tried my best but the Egyptian was counter punching and it worked to his advantage,” the crestfallen loser said after the encounter as his coach, Patrick ‘Mont’ Waweru believed his charge was robbed of victory.
“Gicharu won in the first and third rounds but he relaxed in the second and I cannot understand how it ended the way it did,” Waweru added.
Abdel-Aal paid tribute to his opponent saying he gave him trouble through out the tight encounter.
Gicharu lost it in the second round in the fight staged at the ExCel venue when he was out-scored 8-5 after drawing level with his Egyptian opponent 6-6 in the opener and 5-5 in the third in the encounter that was largely a neck to neck affair.
Abdel-Aal will fight Jasurbek Latipov of Uzbekistan on Friday as the Commonwealth silver winner who opened Team Kenya’s account at London 2012 being left to urge on his teammates.
Tuesday is the turn of swimmer David Dunford to dive to the pool in the men 100m freestyle heats at 12:00pm local time and should he qualify, he will contest the semis at 9:30pm.
The younger of the Dunford brothers reached was only a hundredth of a second short of qualifying for the semis in Beijing.
Elizabeth Andiego is the only remaining Kenyan boxer in the London 2012 roster and she will step to the ring for her Olympics debut on Sunday in the middleweight (75kg) round of 16.