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.

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

Taoufik Makhloufi after winning the 1500 m
Taoufik Makhloufi after winning the 1500 m (source: telegraph.co.uk)

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.