a positive mid-term assessment for African athletes

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Nigerian weightlifter Latifat Tijani wins the under 45kg gold medal at the Tokyo Paralympic Games on August 26, 2021.

Thirty-seven medals, ten of which were gold. A week after the opening of the Tokyo Paralympic Games, Africa presents an overall positive mid-term review.

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So far, nine countries have registered their names on the charts: Nigeria, with three gold medals, is ahead of Tunisia, South Africa, Algeria, Ethiopia, Egypt and Africa in the African rankings. Namibia, Kenya, Morocco and Uganda. However, it will be difficult to match the vintage of the 2016 Games, during which the continent’s athletes won 99 medals, including 36 gold.

Nigerian weightlifters at the top

Nigerian weightlifters alone have collected a third of Africa’s gold medals. This is not really a surprise, since in this discipline, athletes from the most populous country in Africa are used to shine at the international level. Three of them therefore climbed to the top step of the podium: Latifat Tijani (less 45 kg), Bose Omolayo (less 79 kg) and Foloshade Oluwafemiayo (less 86 kg). And to complete the picture, Loveline Obiji won the silver (over 86 kg) and Oliatan Ibrahim the bronze (67 kg).

The only small disappointment concerns the performance of Lucy Ejike, three-time Paralympic champion in 2004 (Athens), 2008 (Beijing) and 2016 (Rio de Janeiro), and who was considered the favorite in the 61 kg category. But at 43, Ejike still won bronze.

Roua Tlili makes Tunisia shine, others too

Nothing seems to be able to stop Roua Tlili. The Tunisian shot putter obtained her third Paralympic gold medal in Tokyo after those of 2012 and 2016, and proved to those who still doubted that she is indeed one of the best specialists in the world of this discipline. But she also aims to triumph in the discus throwing event, where she has already won many titles, including at the Paralympic Games.

As for his compatriot Walid Ktila, he won the 100m wheelchair, his favorite distance – he had already achieved the same performance in 2012 and 2016 – by beating a new Paralympic record in 15”01 ”. ‘. Ahmed Ben Mosleh, he broke the African record in the shot put (14.5m), a performance that allowed him to get the silver. Rouay Jebali (1,500m) and Yassine Guenichi (shot put) also reached the second step of the podium.

South Africa holds its place

At only 19 years old, Ntandjo Mahlangu, a two-leg amputee in 2012, became for the first time in his young career Paralympic champion in the long jump, with a jump of 7.17 m. Mahlangu is a rather eclectic athlete, having won the silver medal in 2016 in Rio, but over 200m! His compatriot Anrune Weyers took the gold in the 400m. This is her first Paralympic title, having had to settle for the silver medal in 2012 and 2016. Nicolas Pieter du Preez won the road cycling event. Finally, Louzanne Coetzee, visually impaired, had a very good performance over 1,500m by climbing to the second step of the podium, setting in the process a new African record in 4 ’40”96 “”. A nice revenge for the South African, who had been disqualified in 2016, the authorities judging that her guide had provided her with illegal assistance.

Cherine Abdellaoui, the gold of Algeria

Judokate Cherine Abdellaoui had already made a strong impression in Rio in 2016, by winning the bronze medal, when she was only 18 years old. She was then the first Algerian – all sports combined – to offer her country a Paralympic medal. Five years later, and with the added experience, the visually impaired Algerian achieved her goal by becoming the Paralympic champion on August 27, the eve of her 23rd birthday, in the 52 kg category, dominating the Canadian Pricilla Gagné.

Algeria also obtained six other medals (two silver and four bronze) in the first week of the Games, mainly in athletics. Thus, Nassima Saïfi (discus throw) and Skander Djamil Athmani (100 m) won the silver.

Ethiopian Gezahagn, queen of the 1,500m

Ethiopia has only sent three athletes to Tokyo, but the results are already very positive. Tigist Gezahagn Menigstu brilliantly won the women’s 1,500m on August 28 in 4’23”24 ”. The 22-year-old runner thus offered her country her first Paralympic gold medal.

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