By Maurice Oniang’o
Team Kenya collected ten medals in the just-concluded Tokyo Olympics, topping Africa in medal standings.
Kenya won four gold medals, four silver, and two bronze, earning the position 19 out of 86, followed by Uganda with two gold medals, one silver, and one bronze, and attaining position 36 overall.
Kenya started the medals campaign with a bronze win by Benjamin Kigen after he finished third in the men’s 3000m steeplechase. However, this win was disappointing as this was the first time the country missed on gold in the 3000m steeplechase.
World record holder Eliud Kipchoge and Faith Kipyegon cemented Kenya’s position as a global athletics powerhouse by defending their Olympic titles. Kipchoge clocked 2 hours, 8 minutes, 38 seconds to win gold in Sunday’s marathon. This win made Kipchoge the third athlete in the Olympics men’s marathon history to win back to back gold joining Ethiopia’s Abebe Bikila (1960, 1964) and East Germany’s Waldemar Cierpinski (1976, 1980). Kipchoge is also the only man to run in under 2 hours in a marathon.
Faith Kipyegon also became the first Kenyan to successfully defend her title in women’s 1500m as she won the same in the Rio Olympics five years ago. She also set a new Olympic record in the event.
Other medals won by Kenya included gold and silver in 800m clinched by Emmanuel Korir and Ferguson Rotich, respectively. In addition, Peres Jepchirchir and Brigid Kosgei won Gold and Silver in the Women’s marathon, making Kenya the first country ever to take both gold and silver in the history of the Olympics marathon.
Uganda finished second in Africa with two golds won by Joshua Cheptegei in the 10,000 track challenge and Peruth Chemutai in the women’s 3000m steeplechase making her the first Ugandan woman ever to win an Olympic medal.
Other African countries ranked in the Tokyo Olympics include; South Africa at position 53 with three medals; one gold won by Tatjana Schoenmaker in the Women’s 200m breaststroke, a silver won by her again in Women’s 100m breaststroke and a silver won by surfer Bianca Buitendag. Egypt was position 54 with six medals including one gold won by 22 year old Feryal Abdelaziz, in the women’s karate kumite +61kg event. She also made history as the first Egyptian woman to win a gold medal at the Olympic Games.
Ethiopia, Tunisia, and Morocco won one gold medal, placing them at positions 56, 58 and 63. Nigeria won a total of two medals, putting them at position 74. Namibia, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana completed the overall ranking from Africa with one medal each.
The United States was the overall best in the games, collecting 113 medals with 39 gold, 41 silvers, and 33 bronzes. China finished second with a total of 88 medals and host Japan attaining the third-best position with 58 medals.