The Tokyo Olympics are over. The African delegations left with 37 medals, 11 of which were gold. Does this assessment live up to expectations?
With thirty-seven medals at the end of the Tokyo Olympics, the results for Africa are mixed. But for the continent, it was an Olympiad full of surprises. With the exception of Kenyan long-distance runner Eliud Kipchoge, no other former African Olympic champion has managed to defend his title. Kipchoge obtained another gold medal on Sunday August 8, but failed to stroke his historic record and run under the two-hour mark. Nevertheless, he remains the third runner in history to retain his gold medal twice in a row. He also helped consolidate Kenya's supremacy at the top of the ranking of African delegations. Kenya finishes ninth nation in the world.
Side disappointments, the Egyptian handball team, which lost its match against Spain for the bronze medal on Saturday August 7, failed in its ambitions. The successive defeats of the Nigerian basketball team, the premature elimination of Zimbabwean and South African athletes, as well as the performance of Nigerian fighters remain the negative points of the Olympics. Tunisia, which comes out with two surprising medals, still sees its historic champions come back empty-handed. Indeed, between the fencer Inès Boubakri, the tenniswoman Ons Jabeur and the swimmer Oussama Mellouli, there are real chances of gold medals in three disciplines that have soared. The surprise rather came young African athletes.
Historic medals for African youth
The conclusion for Africa of these Olympics is perhaps there: the future is assured. We think in particular of the 22-year-old Egyptian karateka Feryal Abdelaziz. A real star in his country, who has progressed throughout his young career. These first Olympic Games allowed the young woman to smash all records. In the final of the karate events on Saturday, she dethroned the Ukrainian-Azrebaijani Irina Zaretska, holder of the title of champion in Asia, Europe and the world. This victory of Abdelaziz, in the land of Karate, is more than symbolic.
Other young African athletes honored their respective countries and were greeted as heroes on their return. Among them, the Tunisian Ahmed Ayoub Hafnaoui, the first African Olympic champion in 400 meters freestyle at only 19 years old. But also the 25-year-old Moroccan middle-distance runner Soufiane el-Bakkali, who won his first gold medal at the Olympic Games in the 3-meter steeplechase. This is the only charm for the Shereefian kingdom.
For Africa, during these Olympics, some bronze medals are almost worth gold. For the Burkinabé triple jumper, Hugues Fabrice Zango, his medal was Africa's first in a triple jump, and the first Olympic medal in Burkina Faso's history. Then, with a bronze medal, 20-year-old Ghanaian boxer Samuel Takyi gave Ghana his first medal since… 1992.
A mixed balance sheet, therefore. But these Olympics show the potential of an Africa which will be able, during the next Olympics, to rely on a new generation of athletes.
🔴 Of the 205 delegations participating in the 2021 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan 🇯🇵, here are the 6 African countries with the most representatives to honor Africa.
🇿🇦 South Africa (176) ⚽️
🇪🇬 Egypt (137) ⚽️
🇰🇪 Kenya (85)
🇹🇳 Tunisia (62)
🇳🇬 Nigeria (52)
🇲🇦 Morocco (48) pic.twitter.com/IqwMx1XiDL
— LE MOROCCO & POST 🌟 AFRICA ( Morocco, المغرب ) (@LemoroccanpostA) July 23, 2021