Here’s A Spotlight of African Moments at the Tokyo Games
The 2020 Olympic Games officially came to an end in Tokyo, Japan on August 8, after approximately 11,000 athletes, representing 205 countries and a refugee team, had the opportunity to make history and leave lasting memories.
The athletes competed in 339 medal events at 42 venues around Japan during the 17 days of dramatic moments.
According to the records, the United States again became the team of the moment, topping the medal table for the third consecutive summer by both total golds (39) and total medals (113), with China finishing second by both respects (38 and 88).
Despite disappointingly missing out on medals at the competition, there were several moments created by Africans at the summer games that will be remembered. All 54 African nations were represented at the Tokyo Games, with 13 winning a total of 37 medals (11 Gold, 12 Silver, 14 Bronze), seven short of the total medal count at the Rio 2016 Olympics.
Here are some of our African moments that are worth spotlighting.
Burkina Faso First-ever Olympic Medal
After appearing in eight different Olympics, Burkina Faso won their first Olympic medal at the 2020 Summer Olympics, following Hugues Fabrice Zango's bronze-winning performance in the men's triple jump. Zango made history for his nation after jumping 17.47m in the men’s triple jump event.
Kenya Maintains Most Successful African Nation at Olympics Status
Kenya again topped the medal count for Africa by winning 10 medals in total, three less than its total at the Rio Games.
Eliud Kipchoge tiled his status as the greatest marathon runner of all time as he became the third elite man in history to retain gold in the Olympic men's marathon.
The 36-year-old world record holder comfortably won the gold medal crossing the finishing line in a remarkable two hours eight minutes and 38 seconds, despite the hot and humid conditions.
His fellow Kenyan Lawrence Cherono, was eventually piped for fourth place finish with Netherlands’ Abdi Nageeye taking silver in 2:09:58 while Abdi Bashir of Belgium took bronze in 2:10:10.
Kenya collected gold in the women’s marathon after Peres Jepchirchir won the country’s fourth gold by closing stages to finish in 2 hours, 27 minutes and 20 seconds.
Liberia Reaches First-ever Olympic Final
Despite missing out on becoming the first African to win a medal in the men’s 200m event for the first time since 1996, 19-year-old Joseph Fahnbulleh made history as he became Liberia’s first Olympic finalist.
Fahnbulleh finished fifth in the men’s 200m with a scorching time of 19.98 seconds, breaking his own national record of 19.99 set in the semifinals.
Uganda Records Best Olympic Performance
Represented by 25 Olympians in athletics, swimming, boxing and rowing, Uganda’s delegation to Tokyo received a heroic welcome back home after collecting two gold medals, a silver and a bronze, ranking them as the second best African country at the just ended summer games.
Joshua Kiprui Cheptegei won gold in the men’s 5,000m and silver in the 10,000m to hit the podium twice in Tokyo. Peruth Chemutai bagged home the East African nation’s second gold when she won the women’s 3,000m steeple ahead of USA’s Courtney Frerichs and Kenya’s Hyvin Kiyeng, who collected bronze.
Now that these moments have been recorded in history, Africans will be hoping to do better at the next Olympic that is three years away.
Paris, France has been announced as host for the next summer games from July 27, 2024.