Eliud Kipchoge has plenty of ideas. As in Brazil five years ago, the Kenyan won the ultimate gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics on Sunday, August 8, in the marathon event. His compatriot Peres Jepchirchir had obtained the same result a little earlier in women.
As in 2016, Kenya is the African country that won the most medals (ten, including four gold). It is ahead of Egypt (six medals), Uganda (four) and South Africa (three). Ethiopia, Tunisia, Morocco, Nigeria, Namibia, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Burkina Faso and Botswana each won at least one medal. That’s 37 medals in all for Africa (including eleven gold), against 45 in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.
Athletics, an African specialty
Unsurprisingly, it is in athletics that the sportsmen of the continent have once again distinguished themselves, with a total of 23 medals (eight in gold, seven in silver and eight in bronze), mainly over long distances. Besides the double performance in the marathon, Kenya won gold in the men’s 800 meters with Emmanuel Korir and the women’s 1,500 meters with Faith Kipyegon, while Ethiopian Selemon Barega won over 10,000 meters and the Ugandan Joshua Cheptegei over 5,000 meters. The latter also had the luxury of winning the silver over 10,000 meters.
Ugandan Peruth Chemutai won the women’s 3,000-meter steeplechase, while Moroccan Soufiane El Bakkali ended 37 years of Kenyan domination in the same category for men. A performance that earned him to offer his country its first Olympic title since the 2004 Games in Athens.
The Tokyo Games also enabled Burkina Faso to obtain the first medal in its history. He owes it to Hugues Fabrice Zongo, who finished in third place in the triple jump with a jump of 17.47 m. Even though the athlete was aiming for gold, his performance was experienced as a great victory in Ouagadougou, where he was greeted as a hero upon his arrival at the international airport.
Gold in swimming and karate
African athletes have also shone in swimming and karate. South African swimmer Tatjana Schoenmaker had multiple podiums dominating the 200-meter breaststroke and claiming silver in the 100-meter. Tunisian Ayoub Hafnaoui completed the positive results of Africans in the pools by becoming Olympic champion in the 400-meter freestyle. The last African gold medal was obtained in karate, one of the new sports admitted to the games this year: Feryal Abdelaziz won the under 61 kg event, the only one in gold for Egypt.
On the combat sports side, if the Ivorian Cheick Cissé has failed to keep his Olympic title – the first in his country – Africa has obtained four medals in taekwondo, including that, in silver, of the young Tunisian Mohamed Khalil Jendoubi in the under 58 kg. In boxing, only Ghanaian Samuel Takyi survived by obtaining bronze in the featherweight, while Greco-Roman wrestling gave Africa two podiums: silver for Nigerian Blessing Oborududu and bronze for the Egyptian. Mohamed Ibrahim Elsayed.
Finally, South African Bianca Buitendag took silver in surfing, as did Egyptian Ahmed Elgendy in modern pentathlon.
Disappointment in team sports
On the other hand, Africans have not won a single medal in team sports. The Egyptian men’s handball team nevertheless managed a magnificent Olympic tournament by finishing in fourth place after being beaten by Spain (31-33). The Pharaohs had previously caused big problems for France, future Olympic champion, in the semifinals (23-37).
In football, Egypt also failed in the quarter-finals against Brazil (0-1), who won gold a week later, while Côte d’Ivoire, after eliminating Germany in the first round, lost in the quarterfinals against Spain in extra time (2-5).
As for Nigeria, they did not shine in basketball, either in girls or boys. The only representative of the continent, he lost his six games without ever having any illusions. A disappointment, especially for the D’Tigers, who had beaten the United States in a friendly match in Dallas, a few days before the start of the Olympics.