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After an exceptional performance in Rio, the African continent hopes that Japan will smile so much on its representatives. Athletics will once again be the most prolific discipline for these African countries. Overview of the main chances of Olympic titles.
Africa set a record of 45 medals at the Rio Olympics, up sharply from previous editions in London 2012 (34 medals), Beijing 2008 (40 medals) or Athens (35 medals). To continue its progress in Japan, it will once again be able to rely on the long distance and middle distance events which should see East African sportsmen and women reap a harvest of gold medals.
“I want to show the world that I am still the best, even though I also know that the competition will be fierce in Tokyo, ”Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge said after his unsurprising victory at the Enschede Marathon in April. The King Kipchoge, reigning Olympic champion and world record holder, wants, at 36, to add a new line to his record.
Her compatriot Brigid Kosgei also holds the world record for the women’s marathon. She will be accompanied to Japan by her compatriots Ruth Chepngetich and Vivian Cheruiyot, formidable competitors. In 2016, Kenya finished first African nation with 13 medals, including 6 gold, all won in middle or long distance events except for the silver medal won by javelin thrower Julius Yego.
The 10,000-meter distance will likely see African athletes grab the podiums. The Ugandans Jacob Kiplimo and Joshua Cheptegei, the Ethiopians Selemon Barega, Yomif Kejelcha and the Kenyan Geoffrey Kamworor are in particular eagerly awaited, as their compatriot Letesenbet Gidey or the Kenyan Hellen Obiri among the women. Dominant athletes who will also line up for the 3000 or 5000 meter events.
Reigning Olympic champion in the 400 meters, South African Wayde Van Niekerk will try to achieve a double in Japan. Over 800 meters, two African athletes are also expected in the first places: Nijel Amos (Botswana) and Ferguson Cheruiyot Rotich (Kenya), the latter also being able to win the Olympic title over 1,500 meters.
The short sprint events could also allow representatives of the African continent to showcase themselves. On the men’s side, the South African Akani Simbine is eagerly awaited. At the beginning of July, he set the new African record in the 100 meters with a time of 9 seconds 84 and he is one of the best sprinters on the planet. In the women’s 100 meters, the Nigerian veteran Blessing Okagbare and the Ivorian Marie-Josée Ta Lou will participate, fourth over this distance in Rio. She will be her country’s flag bearer in Japan and will also double over 200 meters.
Finally, Fabrice Zango, an athlete from Burkina Faso, is one of the favorites in the triple jump competition, bronze medal at the 2019 world championships. “Nothing interests me other than Olympic gold so I am preparing for that. . (…) In the Olympic final, you have to take action and not think about it. The action is to knock out everyone from the first try. And then, laugh at the other five, “he said. entrusted to RFI. He will find on the saltire another African representative, the Algerian Yasser Triki, who achieved a remarkable performance at the beginning of July with a jump of 17 m 24. The triple-jumper Nadia Eke will carry the hopes of Ghana which she will be the standard bearer.
First Olympic medal (bronze) for Tunisian fencing and for an African fencer, Inès Boubakri hopes to take another step forward in Japan.
Nigerian Odunayo Adekuoroye will have a lot to do in the under 57 kg category against the favorite Risako Kawai who will play these Games at home. Egyptian Mohamed Ibrahim El-Sayed (less than 67 kg) could surprise.
In the 200-meter breaststroke, the South African Tatjana Schoenmaker can hope to win the world title in view of her recent performances, while her compatriot Chad Le Clos will try to win a new Olympic medal, after having already won 4 in the two previous Olympics. , including the gold in the 200m butterfly in 2012 in London.
After finishing third in the rugby sevens tournament in Brazil, South Africa wants to do better and is eyeing the gold medal. The “Springboks Sevens” won the world circuit of this discipline in 2017 and 2018.
Thanks to this discipline, Côte d’Ivoire won its very first Olympic gold medal in 2016. Taekwondoist Cheick Cissé will logically be eagerly awaited in Japan in the under 80 kg category. Just like her compatriot Ruth Gbagbi, who brought Brazil bronze in taekwondo.
Nigerien Abdoulrazak Issoufou Alfaga, silver medalist in Brazil in the over 80 kg category, will try to do even better in Japan.
In boxing, the Algerian Younes Nemouchi, the Ghanaian Samuel Takyi, the Moroccan Rabab Cheddar, Khadija El-Mardi and Oumaima Bel Habib or the Malian Marine Fatoumata Camara will try to distinguish themselves in their respective categories.
For this event, which is making its big debut at the Olympic Games, South Africa will be able to count on two representatives, Jordy Smith and Bianca Buitendag. Morocco will follow the performances of Ramzi Boukhiam, flag bearer of the delegation.
Finally, the many football fans from the African continent will also closely follow the results of the teams involved in the men’s (Ivory Coast, South Africa and Egypt) and women’s (Zambia) tournaments. They are not among the favorites for the title, but the magic of the Games may allow them to beat the odds.