Final African Tally at the Rio 2016 Olympics

Rio2016_145 medals for Africa this year. A record. Wayde Van Niekerk, the South African, being the first African to win a gold medal in sprint, and also broke the world record established by Michael Johnson in 1999 on 400 m. Ethiopian Almaz Ayana also broke the 1993 record in 10000m.  Here are the remaining medals from the tally I published before the end of the games.

Cheikh Salla Cisse gave Côte d’Ivoire its very first Gold medal (in less than 80 kg Taekwondo men)


Cheikh Salla Cisse

Caster Semenya – 800 m women (South Africa) – Gold


Ruth Gbagbi – Taekwondo less than 67 kg women (Côte d’Ivoire) – Bronze

Francine Niyonsaba – 800 m women (Burundi) – Silver

Margaret Nyairera Wambui – 800 m women (Kenya) – Bronze

Nigeria men Soccer team – Bronze

Caster Semenya

Eliud Kipchoge – Men Marathon (Kenya) – Gold

Julius Yego – Men Javelin (Kenya) – Silver

Almaz Ayana – 5000 m women (Ethiopia) – Bronze

Hagos Gebrhiwet – 5000 m men (Ethiopia)- Bronze

Feyisa Lilesa – Men Marathon (Ethiopia) – Silver

Taoufik Makhloufi – 1500 m Men (Algeria) – Silver

Abdoulrazak Issoufou Alfaga – over 80kg Taekwondo men (Niger) – Silver

Oussama Oueslati – less than 80 kg Taekwondo men (Tunisia) – Bronze

Hellen Obiri – 5000 m women (Kenya) – Silver

Vivian Cheruiyot – 5000 m women (Kenya) – Gold





12 Days into the Games: African Olympians thus far….

Taoufik Makhloufi after winning the 1500 m
Taoufik Makhloufi after winning the 1500 m (source:

I just wanted to give you an update on all our African medalists at the 2012 London Olympics.

Taoufik Makhloufi, of Algeria, won Gold in the 1500m Men yesterday, after a display of courage and determination. He was disqualified on Monday for not putting enough effort in the Men’s 800m qualifiers, and then later on reinstated, and went on to winning Gold in the 1500m. Such drama! Abdalaati Iguider of Morocco won the bronze in the 1500m Men, after Taoufik.

Tirunesh Dibaba, the baby face destroyer, destroyed her competitors on the 10,000m women’s race. It was lovely to watch her sprint to the finish. We long for a repeat on the 5,000m women’s race which will take place this Friday. The Kenyans Sally Kipyego and Vivian Cheruiyot won silver and bronze respectively.

On the men’s 10,000mKenenisa Bekele disappointed us. Frankly all Africans top runners disappointed us. It was mostly a show of African top runners elbowing each other to stop the other from winning (Kenyans, Ethiopians, and Erythreans) and cornering Kenenisa… and that’s how the British-Somalian Mo Farah won.  Basically, our brothers just went for the ‘crab’ politics.  Disappointing!  Tariku Bekele, Kenenisa’s brother, saved the day by winning the bronze medal.

Tirunesh Dibaba, after winning the 10,000 m race in London 2012
Tirunesh Dibaba, after winning the 10,000 m race in London 2012

The Men’s 3000m Steeplechase was won by Ezekiel Kemboi of Kenya who took gold, while another compatriot, Abel Kiprop Mutai took the bronze. In the women’s 3000 m SteeplechaseSofia Assefa of Ethiopia won the bronze medal.

The Women’s marathon was won by Tiki Gelana of Ethiopia who set a new olympic record, and was followed by Priscah Jeptoo of Kenya with silver.

As said earlier, Alaaeldin Abouelkassem of Egypt won Silver in Men’s Foil Fencing.

In swimming, Tunisian Oussama Mellouli took Bronze in the Men’s 1500m freestyle.  South African Chad le Clos took Silver in the Men’s 100m butterfly, and gold in the Men’s 200m butterflyCameron van der Burgh, another South African, won the gold medal in the Men’s 100m breaststroke.

In rowing, the South Africans James Thompson, Matthew Brittain, Sizwe Ndlovu, and John Smith, captured gold in the Men’s Lightweight Four, thus winning South Africa’s first rowing medal.

Frankie Fredericks: Sprinting to the Finish for Namibia

Frankie Fredericks raising the flag of Namibia
Frankie Fredericks raising the flag of Namibia

The athlete of the week is Frankie Fredericks: the handsome, good-looking, strong, fast, and powerful brother from Namibia.  Yep that’s right, Frankie Fredericks is one of those athletes I loved watching in the 1990s.  Always consistent, always strong, and everpresent, Frankie Fredericks was a force to reckon with.  How many silver medals has he gotten while contending the 100 m and 200 m at the Olympics?  4 Silver medals!  That’s right, an African with 4 silver olympic medals!  He has also won several gold medals at the World Championships, World Indoor Championships, All-Africa Games, and Commonwealth Games.  He is thus far Namibia’s only olympic medalist.

Frankie Fredericks coming 2nd to Donovan Bailey during the 100 m finale at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics
Frankie Fredericks coming 2nd to Donovan Bailey during the 100 m finale at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics

Born in Windhoek, Namibia’s capital, Frankie began running at the age of 13, and particularly loved football (soccer for Americans).  However, when he was awarded a scholarship to attend Brigham Young University, in the USA in 1987, he quickly moved his passion to track and field.  In 1991, as Namibia gained independence from South Africa, Frankie started officially compete for his country.  At the Barcelona Olympics in 1992, Frankie Fredericks won 2 silver medals in 100 m and 200m, giving Namibia its very first olympic medal.  In 1996 at the Atlanta Olympics, Frankie again won 2 silver medals coming 2nd to Donovan Bailey in the 100m, and 2nd to Michael Johnson in the 200 m.  Due to injuries, Frankie was absent at Sydney Olympics in 2000, and Namibia dearly missed him there.  He raced the 200m at the Athens Olympics in 2004, and came out 4th, and finally retired at the end of that year at the age of 37 (Imagine a 37 year-old sprinter coming 4th at the olympics, running against young folks like Shawn Crawford, Justin Gatlin, and Bernard Williams).  At the beginning of that run in Athens, Frankie was given a standing ovation that lasted few minutes, and at the end, he said “It is quite emotional, … I always wanted to go out with a medal, but sometimes in life you don’t get everything you want.” Frankie has run the 100 m under 10 s more consistently than most athletes (he is ranked 4th behind Ato Boldon of Trinidad & TobagoMaurice Greene of the US, and Asafa Powell of Jamaica).

Frankie Fredericks
Frankie Fredericks

Off track, Frankie has a computer science degree and a masters of business administration, and he has created the Frank Fredericks Foundation to foster young Namibian athletes. In 2004, he was  elected by fellow athletes to serve on the board of the International Olympic Committee. Please check out the tribute to Frankie Fredericks given by International Association of Athletics Federations IAAF athletics.

The personable and wildly popular Fredericks spent the greater part of a decade-and-a-half at the pinnacle of his craft, a record for longevity nearly unprecedented in the sprints.  What was always fun about watching Frankie run was his consistency: Frankie was constant on the distance, and a very reliable athlete, training hard to represent his country and continent at the highest level.  I am sure most people had never heard of the country Namibia, but when Frankie was running, the whole world could hear and feel Namibia rising!

Mozambique’s First Gold Medal, and World Greatest 800m Runner: Maria Mutola

Maria Mutola winning gold in Sydney
Maria Mutola winning gold in Sydney

With the olympics fast approaching, I have decided to feature one African athlete per week to keep us in Olympics mood. Today, I would like to talk about an athlete hailing from Mozambique: Maria Mutola.

Maria de Lurdes Mutola was born in Maputo, the capital of Mozambique, and was running so fast that she was nicknamed ‘The Maputo Express’.  She specialized in 800 m, and is the 4th athlete to have competed in 6 olympic games (imagine that: the olympic games happen every 4 years… thus it took a total of 24 years of intense competition at the highest level, as a world class athlete).  As a young girl, she excelled in football(soccer), and played with boys.  Later on, she was encouraged by the great

Maria Mutola defeating Kelly Holmes at World Championships
Maria Mutola defeating Kelly Holmes at World Championships

Mozambican writer Jose Craveirinha to pursue track and field.  Her very first olympic was in 1988 at the Seoul Games, at the age of 15.  She finished last, but this made her even stronger.  After that, she dominated the 800 m distance, winning the gold medal at the IAAF World Indoor Championships in 1993 and 1995, and the Stuttgart 1993 IAAF World Championships.  She won the bronze medal in 1996 at the Atlanta Olympic games, and finally won a sweet Gold medal at the Sydney Olympic Games in 2000.  Mutola retired from track and field at the 2008 Beijing Olympics where she sadly finished 5th, after being in contention for a medal.  Mutola is often ranked as the greatest female 800 m runner of all time, since her consistency, her record at major championships and her ability to compete at the highest levels of the sport for well over a decade are unmatched.

Maria Mutola raising the flag of Mozambique
Maria Mutola raising the flag of Mozambique

As a sports fan, I watched Maria at the 1995 World indoor games in Barcelona.  The year 2000 was so special, as we all saw Maria finally lift the Olympic gold medal for Mozambique, at the Sydney games.  In 2003, she became the sole winner of the IAAF $1million Golden league title, for being undefeated throughout that year at all major competitions.  I have always been a big fan of hers, even though I always thought that she had too much of a ‘male’ physique.  With that physique, she ran with power and grace, and raised the flag of Mozambique with pride.  Greatness to you Maria, you’ve made us proud!