45 medalsfor 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)
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
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
FeyisaLilesa– 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
Oussama Mellouli of Tunisia won Gold in the 10 km marathon open water, to become the first swimmer to ever win olympic medals in both the pool and open water. He had also won bronze in the 1500m freestyle in London, and was the Beijing Gold winner for 1500m freestyle.
Tirunesh Dibaba, the baby-face destroyer, took Gold in 10,000 m run to retain her title, and bronze in the 5000m. I will take this opportunity to salute her for running in the 5000m even after suffering a harmstring the day before the 5000m run. Kenyans Sally Kipyego and Vivian Cheruiyot won silver and bronze respectively in the 10,000m. Meseret Defar took the gold in the 5000m, reclaiming back the gold medal she had won in 2004 during the Athens Olympics, but had lost in 2008 to Tirunesh Dibaba. Kenyan Vivian Cheruiyot took the silver home in the 5000m, followed by Tirunesh Dibaba.
David Rudisha of Kenya, became the first man to break a record at the London Olympics, in the 800m. He ran the 800 m with such majesty and speed, he almost looked like an impala, very graceful. Nijel Amos won a silver medal to offer Botswana its very first Olympic medal; while Timothy Kitum of Kenya took home the bronze medal.
Caster Semenya of South Africa won a silver medal in the women’s 800m run. Watching her run, one could already see the potential, and had she not started far in the back, I believe she would have won the gold medal.
Taoufik Makhloufi of Algeria stunned us by getting disqualified from the olympics because of ‘not trying hard enough’ (whatever that means) in the men’s 800m, getting reinstated, and then going on to win the gold medal by a huge margin, in the 1500m. He definitely made us proud… telling us that one can always beat all the odds. MoroccanAbdalaati Iguider took home the bronze medal.
South Africa is the African country who won the most medals at the London Olympics, with three gold, two silver, and one bronze medals. Swimmers Chad le Clos and Cameron van der Burgh both won gold in 200m butterfly and 100m breaststroke respectively. Chad also took home the silver medal for the 100m butterfly. Sizwe Ndlovu, John Smith, Matthew Brittain, and James Thompson of South Africa won gold in the men’s lightweight four.
UgandanStephen Kiprotich claimed the gold medal in the men’s marathon, making it Uganda’s first gold medal since 1972. He was followed by two Kenyans who won silver and bronze: Abel Kirui and Wilson Kipsang.
Anthony Obame won Gabon’s first ever medal, by claiming the silver medal in taekwondo.
Overall, although I was quite disappointed by the performance of the Kenyan and Ethiopian athletes, particularly that of Kenenisa Bekele, I salute those who raised our flags high and made us proud of being Africans. I am sure children in Botswana would now take to running like Nijel Amos, and I am sure children in Gabon will join taekwondo’s clubs like Obame, while Tunisians will learn to swim as well as Oussama Mellouli who made them all extremely proud.
With the start of the 2012 London Olympics, I thought about giving you a hint as to who to look out for, and who are those brilliant athletes representing the continent at the Olympics. Here is a list of some of the outstanding ones… There is no particular order. If I have missed a big one, please send me his/her name.