African Wins at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics

Ahmed Hafnaoui of Tunisia winning the Gold during the 400m freestyle at the Tokyo 2020 (Source: ca.sports.yahoo.com)

This week more history has been made for Africa at the Olympics. Records have been broken and Africans have responded present with strength.

Tunisia, with Ahmed Hafnaoui offered the African continent its first medal of the games, by winning gold in the 400m freestyle swimming. Then, Mohamed Khalil Jendoubi won silver in the Men’s 58kg Taekwondo.

Hugues Fabrice Zango getting his triple jump (Source: bbc.co.uk)

Burkina Faso got its first ever medal since the creation of the Olympic games. Hugues Fabrice Zango won the bronze medal in the Men’s triple jump. It was really good to watch him, and I am proud for this son of the land of Thomas Sankara. Moreover, he won his medal, Burkina Faso’s medal on the 61st anniversary of the country’s independence (as you know most Francophone countries are not really independent from France because of the FCFA, but this is a story for another day).

Namibia Christine Mboma came back from behind to win silver in the Women’s 200m in front of some of the world’s best. Now remember that Christine Mboma and her compatriot Beatrice Masilingi were barred from running their favorite distance, 400m, just a month ago, and had to all of sudden readjust to run 200m. They were declared ineligible for the longer race because of a genetic condition that raises their testosterone levels. South African Caster Semenya, a two-time Olympic champion in the 800m (2016 and 2012), is the most famous DSD (difference in sexual development) athlete who has been stopped from running in Tokyo. All three 800m medallists at the 2016 Rio Olympics – Semenya, Burundi’s silver medallist Francine Niyonsaba and Kenyan bronze winner Margaret Wambui – were DSD athletes… I am not sure I understand the whole issue, because for me, I wonder how one can be born female and then one day some organization tells them that they are not female. I find it hard to fathom. So let’s see what will happen. Mboma is the first Namibian female to win an olympic medal… she is following in the tracks of the great Namibian athlete Frankie Fredericks (Frankie Fredericks: Sprinting to the Finish for Namibia).

Christine Mboma of Namibia (Source: indianExpress)

Blessing Oborududu of Nigeria won Silver in the Women’s freestyle 68kg. Ese Brume did not disappoint and won Nigeria’s first medal of the Tokyo Olympic Games, taking bronze in the women’s long jump.

Ethiopia Selemon Barega gave Ethiopia its first Men’s 10,000m gold since Kenenisa Bekele in 2008. Lamecha Girma won silver in the Men’s 3000m steeplechase. Gudaf Tsegay won bronze in the Women’s 5000m race, while Letesenbet Gidey won the bronze medal in Women’s 10000m.

Uganda Joshua Cheptegei, the World champion and world record holder, ran a controlled race to take the men’s 5000m gold; last week, he had also won silver in the Men’s 10,000m. Jacob Kiplimo won the bronze medal in the Men’s 10,000m racePeruth Chemutai became the first Ugandan woman ever to win an Olympic gold medal on Wednesday – triumphing in the Women’s 3,000m steeplechase.

Eliud Kipchoge winning gold at the Men’s marathon (Source: OregonLive.com)

Kenya’s Faith Kipyegon, who had been training with legends like marathon world record holder Eliud Kipchoge thwarted World champion’s Sifan Hassan’s plans of winning a distance treble in Tokyo by retaining the women’s 1500m title by pulling ahead after the bell and winning gold. Her compatriot Peres Jepchirchir won the women’s marathon, defeating world record holder Brigid Kosgei  in the closing stages and winning in 2h27min20s, and Kosgei had to settle for silver. Hellen Obiri took home silver in Women’s 5,000m, while Hyvin Kiyeng won bronze in Women’s 3000m steeplechase. The men’s 800m gold went to Emmanuel Kipkurui Korir of Kenya, and his teammate Ferguson Rotich took silver. Timothy Cheruiyot took silver in the Men’s 1500m, while Compatriot Benjamin Kiven took bronze in the men’s 3000m steeplechase. Eliud Kipchoge successfully defended his olympic title at the marathon; he is only the 3rd person in the history of the games to win successive marathons.

South Africa’s Tatjana Schoenmaker won gold, and broke the Women’s 200m world record for breaststroke on Friday. This earned her a call from the President of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa, to congratulate her on her victory. Schoenmaker had previously won silver in the Women’s 100m breastrokes, while Bianca Buitendag took silver in surfing

Morocco’s Soufiane El Bakkali triumphed in the Olympic Men’s 3,000m steeplechase – ending Kenya’s 41-year unbeaten run on the distance.

Egypt’s Giana Farouk (Lotfy) won bronze in the Women’s kumite karate. Seif Eissa, Hedaya Malak, and Mohammed Elsayed Elsayed all won bronze medals in the Men’s 80kg taekwondo, Women’s 67kg taekwondo and Men’s 67kg Greco-Roman wrestling respectively.

Faith Kipyegon winning the 1500m (Source: si.com)

Ruth Gbagbi of Cote d’Ivoire won bronze in the Women’s 67kg Taekwondo. She had won Bronze also in Rio 2016. Ghana also took home bronze in the Men’s Feather (52-57kg) boxing with Samuel Takyi.

Lastly, Team Botswana (Isaac Makwala, Baboloki Thebe, Zibane Ngozi, Bayapo Ndori) surprised everyone by giving a beautiful performance and winning the bronze amidst some of the world’s bests in the Men’s 4x400m relay.

Overall, it was a good game… As we turn the page of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics which took place in 2021, we do hope that the Paris 2024 Olympics will be better for Africa, and that the world will be in a better place.

African Representation at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics

Ahmed Hafnaoui of Tunisia winning the Gold during the 400m freestyle at the Tokyo 2020 (Source: ca.sports.yahoo.com)

Africa is well-represented at the Tokyo olympics this year. Even though it has only been 5 days, Africans have already won quite a few medals, starting with a gold metal from the Tunisian Ahmed Hafnaoui in 400m freestyle swimming, and silver medals for South Africans Tatjana Schoenmaker and Bianca Buitendag in 100m breastrokes and surfing, and Mohamed Jendoubi of Tunisia in Taekwondo; while Ruth Gbagbi of Ivory Coast, Hedaya Wahba and Seif Eissa both of Egypt all took bronze in Taekwondo.

This year, five new events have been added: surfing (not sure how many countries play this sport to be at the Olympics?), sport climbing (what sort of climbing is this? I have climbed so many trees I should be an olympian), baseball/softball (how many countries actually have teams for these, except those influenced by the US?), skateboarding (Olympics sport?) and Karate (It’s about time – always wondered why this global discipline was not part of the Olympics anyways).

There are quite a lot African athletes participating at the 2021 Tokyo 2020 olympics. Below are a few to keep an eye out on :

Algeria: Taoufik Makhloufi (gold in London2012 and 2 silvers Rio2016)

Tokyo 2020 Olympics logo (Olympics.com)

Botswana:  London 2012 silver medalist Nijel Amos is highly anticipated

Burkina Faso Triple jumper Hugues Fabrice Zango,

Burundi: Francine Niyonsaba (Rio2016 silver 800m)

Cote d’Ivoire: Ruth Gbagbi (bronze at Rio 2016), Cheick Cisse (gold at the last Olympics – Ivory Coast’s first gold medal ever) in Taekwondo, and the amazing runner Marie-Josee Ta Lou.

Egypt: Azmy Mehelba in shooting, Giana Farouk in Karate, Seif Eissa (won bronze yesterday) in Taekwondo

Eritrea: Merhawi Kudus in cycling (Eritrea’s first participation in cycling)

Ethiopia’s star runners Letesenbet Gidey and Selemon Barega

Gambia: Gina Bass in running

Kenya: we are highly expecting the amazing Brigid Kosgei  and Eliud Kipchoge (marathon world-record holder, gold medal in Rio 2016), and Rio 2016 silver Javelin winner Julius Yego.

Morocco: Khadija Mardi in boxing, Ramzi Boukhiam in surfing

Mozambique: Deisy Nhaquile in sailing

Niger: Abdoulrazak Issoufou Alfaga (Rio 2016 Silver – Taekwondo)

Nigeria: the anticipated long jumper and runner Blessing Okagbare, and Ese Brume

Seychelles: Rodney Govinden in sailing (second participation for the Seychelles)

South Africa: the super star swimmer Chad Le Clos (2012 gold, 2 silvers in 2016), Akani Simbane in running, Caitlin Rooskrantz in gymnastics (first participation of South Africa), Tatjana Schoenmaker (swimming) and Bianca Buitendag (surfing), Erin Sterkenburg (surfing), Boipelo Awuah (skateboarding – she is the youngest African athlete at the Olympics this year)

Tunisia: Ons Jabeaur in Tennis, Ines Boubakri (2016 Rio bronze medal) in fencing, this year’s gold winner in 100m freestyle Ahmed Hafnaoui, and 2008 and 2012 Olympics gold medalist Oussama Mellouli (long-distance swimmer), Mohamed Jendoubi

Uganda: Runners Jacob Kiplimo and Joshua Cheptegei

Zimbabwe golfer Scott Vincent

Who / What did we Celebrate in Africa in 2019?

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Laurent Gbagbo

1. The liberation of President Laurent Gbagbo and Charles Blé Goudé (How long shall they kill our prophets…?) from the Hague after 8 years unjustly accused of crimes against humanity. All charges were dropped, Laurent Gbagbo, Former President of Cote d’Ivoire, was acquitted of War Crimes, yet Blé Goudé and him are still persecuted by the prosecutor, and Blé Goudé is still stuck in the Hague unjustly, while Gbagbo is in Belgium; both are unable to return home to Côte d’Ivoire. This is another case of Deportation of African Heads of States. Our prayers have been answered, and we will continue until they can both return home, and until Côte d’Ivoire is rid of all the nonsense brought by France there.  As Agostinho Neto Neto said: “La luta continua e la victoria e certa!”

2. Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)‘s first democratically elected president, Felix Tshisekedi, was invested on 24 January which marked a historic day in the life of the DRC. Félix Antoine Tshilombo Tshisekedi marked the first peaceful transfer of power in the history of the DRC in 60 years, since the Belgium granted it independence.

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Abiy Ahmed, Prime minister of Ethiopia (Source: sa.breakingnews.co.za)

3. Abiy Ahmed, the Prime Minister of Ethiopia was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize this year. We celebrate it, but it has become quite controversial as he was awarded the Nobel for his work in ending the 20-year post-war territorial stalemate between Ethiopia and Eritrea…. the question remains as to why wasn’t his Eritrean counterpart recognized as well … doesn’t it take two to tango? Remember how F. de Klerk and Mandela were both awarded the Nobel peace prize for the end of apartheid? Both sides were recognized… so why not in the case of Ethiopia and Eritrea?

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Kais Saied,  new president of Tunisia getting sworn in (Source: Al Jazeera)

4. Tunisia celebrated the election of Kais Saied aka ‘The Robot’: The Political Outsider Who Won the Tunisian Presidential Election. Saied, a political outsider and retired law professor, won the presidential election with a landslide victory. We cheered with the Tunisian people for a good election and hopefully a good choice.

5. Cameroon’s opposition leader Maurice Kamto was freed after almost 10 months of unjust arrest. This has helped us all uncover yet another scandal: Cameroon and the Double Standard of the ‘International Community’. Kamto had been locked up with over 200 of his supporters at the capital’s maximum security prison for a peaceful march. He has now been freed, and all charges dropped, while the situation in Cameroon keeps disintegrating under the leadership of France’s puppet Paul Biya and his croonies.

6. Rwanda announced the opening of the first mobile phone manufacturing plant in Africa. The mobile phones will be entirely made in Rwanda… for Rwandans. Rwanda opens first entirely homemade smartphone factory. The Mara Group, a pan-African business headquartered in Dubai, says the factory will deliver “high quality smartphones at an affordable price.” Volkswagen will also open its first ever car assembly factory in Africa in Rwanda.

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Eliud Kipchoge after crossing the sub-2hour marathon line (Source: Standard.co.uk)

7. Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya ran a sub-2 hour marathon to become the first person in recorded history to run a marathon in such times.

7. Kenya’s Brigid Kosgei set a jaw-dropping new women’s world record at the Chicago marathon with a time of 2:14:04, breaking the record set by British runner Paula Radcliffe in 200316 years ago.

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The Fennecs of Algeria celebrating their title at the CAN 2019 (Source: The Guardian)

8. The Fennecs of Algeria won the African Cup of Nations 2019 in Cairo, Egypt. The Fennecs of Algeria defeated the Lions of the Teranga of Senegal 1-0 to become Africa’s new champions. This was their second title since 1990. They were clearly the tournament’s best team. The revelation of CAN 2019 tournament was the Barea of Madagascar which for their first participation ever to the African Cup of Nations, performed extremely well, and went as far as the quarter finals.

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Alvin Zhakata in Khartoum, Sudan (Source: Alvin Zhakata)

9. This year also saw several fans attempt the journey from Cape to Cairo: Trekking 10,000 km for the African Cup of Nations. One of them finished: Alvin Zhakata, of Zimbabwe, trekked 10,000 km to cheer for the Zimbabwean warriors at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Cairo. Even though he arrived late, after his team had been eliminated, he was offered a VIP ticket to the final. What Zhakata did was no easy feat: he traveled from Cape Town to Cairo by foot enduring visa delays, internet blackouts and revolutionary protests all for the love of football. This was also a bold political statement to all African leaderswe need roads to connect each other; we need better visa system for Africans, safer travel, and increased trade among each otherwe need a united AfricaZhakata’s statement is one of Unity, … African Unity

10. To end the year in fanfare, Ethiopia celebrated the launch of its first satellite. This is an outstanding feat and we are happy to celebrate with Ethiopian scientists and all Ethiopians.

A Weekend of Firsts in Sports set by … Africans and Afro-Descendants

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Eliud Kipchoge after crossing the sub-2hour marathon line (Source: Standard.co.uk)

This past weekend was a weekend of firsts in sports, firsts set by African and Afro-descendant athletes. It was also a strong weekend for Black female athletes, with dominant, outstanding, and even historic performances by world record marathoner Brigid Kosgei, tennis champion Coco Gauff and Simone Biles, the greatest gymnast in the history of the sport. We watched with great joy when:

 

Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya ran a sub-2 hour marathon to become the first person in recorded history to run a marathon in such times. On 12 October 2019, Kipchoge ran the marathon distance on a special course in Vienna, Austria, achieving a time of 1:59:40 in the Ineos 1:59 Challenge. However, his record will not go down as a world record, because this technical feat required unprecedented planning and support, and was heavily engineered. We nonetheless celebrate the history and meaning for mankind.

 

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Simone Biles breaking all records at the World championships in Stuttgart (Source: time.com)

Simone Biles became the most decorated gymnast of all times. The four-time Olympic gold medalist, at 22, broke a world championships record with her medals on Sunday. Winning gold medals for both her floor routine and the balance beam, Biles became the most-decorated gymnast at the world championship amassing 25 medals, breaking the long-held record of 23, which was set by male gymnast Vitaly Scherbo back in the 1990s. She is not only the most decorated in history, but the highest and fastest champion the sport has ever seen.

 

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Brigid Kosgei at the Chicago Marathon showing her record (Source: Reuters)

Kenya’s Brigid Kosgei set a jaw-dropping new women’s world record in Chicago over the weekend with a time of 2:14:04, breaking the record set by British runner Paula Radcliffe in 2003, 16 years ago. Unlike Kipchoge’s record, whose effort employed rotating pacers and just one “racer,” this one will count as a world record. Kosgei removed 81 seconds from the previous record, an unprecedented feat!

 

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Coco Gauff after winning her first WTA title (Source: cbc.ca)

Tennis player Coco Gauff  became the youngest singles champion, at 15, in 15 years and the youngest American to win a singles title on the tour since 1991. She became the youngest woman to win Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) title since 2004 (and the youngest American to do so in 28 years) by winning Austria’s Linz Open on Sunday. I love the advice her dad who is her coach gave her: “Just relax, you’re not going to sprint to the finish line,… We’re going to walk to the finish line, OK?” And relaxed she got, in order to cruise to victory.

 

It was truly a weekend of Firsts, unprecedented, and of course Outstanding performances!!!