Tokyo 2020: African athletes to watch out for

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Brigid Kosgei is a Kenyan marathon runner who won in Chicago in 2018 and 2019 and in London in 2019 and 2020.

Kosgei is a world record holder, with a time of 2:14:04 achieved at the 2019 Chicago Marathon. She makes her Olympic debut at the Tokyo Games.

  • Eliud Kipchoge, 36

    Kenya Marathon runner

    Eliud Kipchoge is a professional long-distance runner.

    The Kenyan athletics star is a marathon world-record holder with a time of 2:01:39 set on 16 September 2018 at the Berlin marathon.

    He also won a gold medal at the Rio 2016 Olympics.

  • Khadija Mardi, 30

    Morocco Boxing

    Khadija Mardi is a Moroccan boxer. She participated in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games but lost out at the women's middle (69-75kg) quarter-final 2 match.

    She also won a bronze medal at the 2019 World Boxing Championships.

  • Ramzi Boukhiam, 27

    Morocco Surfing

    Ramzi Boukhiam is a professional surfer.

    He’ll be making his Olympic debut and representing Morocco at the first ever surfing competition.

  • Deisy Nhaquile, 20

    Mozambique Sailing

    Deisy Nhaquile is a Mozambican sailor who’ll be featuring in an Olympic Games for the first time at Tokyo 2020.

    She won the 2019 African sailing championships in the 420 Radial Laser class.

  • Blessing Okagbare, 33

    Nigeria Long jumper/Runner

    Blessing Okagbare is a Nigerian long jump and short sprints athlete.

    She holds a current 100 metre record of 10.75 seconds, but beat this at the Olympic trials with a 10.63 timing in June 2021.

    However, this was done with a wind of 2.7m/s, above the allowed limit. Her best time this season is officially 10.89.

  • Ese Brume, 25

    Nigeria Long jumper

    Ese Brume is one of three African women jumpers to exceed 7m.

    The Nigerian athlete's first appearance at the Olympics was at Rio 2016 where she finished 5th. She landed a bronze medal at the 2019 World Athletics Championships.

    Ese jumped the season best with 7.17m on 29 May 2021 in California, US.

  • Rodney Govinden, 35

    Seychelles Sailing

    Rodney Govinden will be representing Seychelles at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

    This is his second Olympic outing after Rio 2016. He won the 2019 Seychellois Sportsman of the Year award.

  • Chad Le Clos, 29

    South Africa Swimming

    Chad le Clos is a South African swimmer who has won several medals including one gold at the London 2012 Olympics and two silvers at Rio 2016.

  • Akani Simbine, 27

    South Africa Runner

    Akani Simbine is a South African sprinter who won a gold medal for the 100m at the 2018 Commonwealth Games and came 4th at the 2019 World Championships.

    He ran the second best time of the season in 9.84 and is one of only three men to run under 9.85 this season, along with American Trayvon Bromell (9.77) and Swiss Alex Wilson (9.84).

    He became the new African record-holder by running 9.84 in Hungary on 6 July 2021.

  • Caitlin Rooskrantz, 19

    South Africa Gymnastics

    Caitlin Rooskrantz is set to make her debut at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

    The South African gymnast won the 2018 African Artistic Gymnastics Championships and the Hungary 2019 Artistic Gymnastics World Cup Challenge.

  • Erin Sterkenburg, 18

    South Africa Sport Climbing

    Erin Sterkenburg is a South African climber and Africa’s only Olympic-bound climber to be participating in one of the five new sporting activities included in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

    She won the 2020 IFSC Africa Championships.

  • Boipelo Awuah, 15

    South Africa Skateboarding

    Boipelo Awuah is the first skateboarder from South Africa at the Olympics.

    She is also the youngest African athlete at the Games.

  • Blitzboks

    South Africa Rugby Sevens

    South Africa's Rugby Sevens Team, also known as the Blitzboks, won a bronze medal at the Rio 2016 Olympics.

    They came second at the Rugby Sevens World Cup in 1997.

  • Ons Jabeaur, 26

    Tunisia Tennis

    Ons Jabeaur is a Tunisian tennis player and the first North African to win a Women's Tennis Association title.

    She is also the first Arab woman to reach the quarter-finals, as she did at the 2021 Wimbledon Championships.

  • Ines Boubakri, 32

    Tunisia Fencing

    Ines Boubakri is a Tunisian fencer who won the bronze medal at the women's individual foil fencing event of the Rio 2016 Olympics, making her the first Arab and African woman to win an Olympic medal in fencing games

    She is also the first woman to be Tunisia's flag-bearer at the Olympics.

  • Jacob Kiplimo, 20

    Uganda Runner

    Jacob Kiplimo is a Ugandan long-distance runner who competed in the 3,000m men’s race at the 2020 IAAF Diamond League Golden Gala.

    Tokyo 2020 will be his second Olympic outing after Rio 2016.

    He ran the fastest 10,000m this season, 26:33.93, on 19 May 2021 in Ostrava in Czech Republic.

  • Joshua Cheptegei, 25

    Uganda Runner

    Joshua Cheptegei is a Ugandan long-distance runner who secured a gold medal in the 10,000m at the 2019 World Athletics Championships and set a new world record during the 5,000m at the Monaco 2020 Diamond League.

    He also holds the 10,000m world record.

  • Copper Queens

    Zambia Football

    The Zambian women’s national football team, also known as the Copper Queens or She-Polopolo, will be making their Olympic debut at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

  • Scott Vincent, 29

    Zimbabwe Golf

    Scott Vincent is making his Olympic debut at this year’s games. In 2019, the Zimbabwean golfer finished 4th at the Japan Open Golf Championships.

  • D'Tigers

    Nigeria Basketball

    Nigeria's men's basketball team, also known as D'Tigers, won the 2015 Afrobasket and came second at the 2017 edition of the games.

    D'Tigers secured Africa's only automatic berth for Tokyo at the 2019 Fiba World Cup.

    The African champions beat the USA and Argentina at two exhibition pre-Olympic games in July 2021.

  • The Pearls

    Angola Handball

    Angola women’s national handball team also known as The Pearls are the 2021 African Women's Handball Champions.

    They came 8th at the Rio 2016 Olympics after being eliminated in the quarter-finals.

  • Oussama Mellouli, 37

    Tunisia Swimming

    Oussama Mellouli is a Tunisian long-distance swimmer who won the gold medal for the 1,500m freestyle at Beijing 2008 Olympics and the Marathon 10km swim at the London 2012 Olympic Games.

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