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.

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)

 

Cisse1
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

Semenya
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

 

 

 

 

London 2012 Olympics: the African Contribution

Oussama Mellouli
Oussama Mellouli

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 5000 m. 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 10,000mMeseret 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.

Tariku Bekele, Kenenisa Bekele‘s little brother took the bronze medal in the men’s 10,000m.

David Rudisha (followed by Nijel Amos)
David Rudisha (followed by Nijel Amos)

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.  Moroccan Abdalaati Iguider took home the bronze medal.

Caster Semenya
Caster Semenya

Ezekiel Kemboi won gold in the 3000 m steeplechase, while his Kenyan compatriot Abel Kiprop Mutai took the bronze.

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 butterflySizwe Ndlovu, John Smith, Matthew Brittain, and James Thompson of South Africa won gold in the men’s lightweight four.

Ethiopian Tiki Gelana won gold in the women’s marathon, followed by Kenya’s Priscah Jeptoo.

Anthony Obame wins Silver
Anthony Obame wins Silver

Ugandan Stephen 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 bronzeAbel Kirui and Wilson Kipsang.

Anthony Obame won Gabon’s first ever medal, by claiming the silver medal in taekwondo.

Alaeeldin Abouelkassem of Egypt won silver in fencing, becoming Africa’s first medal in fencing.

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.

African Athletes to Watch for at the 2012 London Olympics

2012 London Olympics
2012 London Olympics

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.

 

Athletes Country Discipline Achievements
Kenenisa Bekele Ethiopia 5,000m & 10,000m Reigning world and Olympic champion (male)
Tirunesh Dibaba Ethiopia 5,000m & 10,000m Reigning world and Olympic champion (female)
Cameron van der Burgh South Africa Swimming Gold medalist 100 m breaststroke 2012 olympics
Amantle Montsho Botswana 400 m & 800 m track & field African champion
Jonathan Akinyemi Nigeria Canoe-Kayak
Blessing Okagbare Nigeria 100 m, long and triple jump 2008 Olympics Bronze medalist long jump
Caster Semenya South Africa 800 m, 1500 m 2011 World Champion Silver medal (800m)
Vivian Cheruiyot Kenya 5000 m 2009 world champion
Silas Kiplagat Kenya 1500 m 2010 Commonwealth gold champion
Tosin Oke Nigeria Triple jump 2011 All-African Games gold medalist
Ruddy Zang Milama Gabon 100 m 2012 African champion
Taoufik Makhloufi Algeria 800 m, 1500 m 2012 African champion (800 m)
Alaaedin Abouelkassem Egypt Men’s Fencing 2010 World Junior champion
Ndiss Kaba Badji Senegal Long jump 2012 African champion
Pamela Jelimo Kenya 800 m 2008 Olympic Gold medalist
Kirsty Coventry Zimbabwe Swimming Olympic Gold medalist 2004, 2008 (2 gold, 4 silver, & 1 bronze olympic medals)
Khotso Mokoena South Africa Long jumper 2008 Olympic silver medalist
Antonia de Fatima Faia Angola Judo Bronze medalist World champion
Zersenay Tadese Erithrea 10,000 m 2004 Olympic bronze medalist
Wilson Kipsang Kenya Marathon 2012 London Marathon winner
Mary Keitany Kenya Marathon 2012 London Marathon winner
Amaechi Morton Nigeria 400 m hurdles 2012 African championship gold medalist
Oscar Pistorius South Africa 100m, 200m, 400 m 2004, 2008 paralympic gold medalist
Samuel Kamau Wanjiru Kenya Marathon 2008 Olympic gold medalist
Chad le Clos South Africa Swimming (200 m butterfly) Commonwealth gold medalist
Benjamin Boukpeti Togo Canoe (K-1 Kayak single) 2008 Olympic bronze medalist
Oussama Mellouli Tunisia 1500 m freestyle swimming 2008 olympic Gold medalist