The Tokyo 2020 Paralympic games have come and gone with all the thrills and excitement that are in no way lower than the Olympics. Governed by the International Paralympic Committee, the Tokyo Paralympics witnessed the discovery of new talents.
Tokyo 2020 was the 16th Summer Paralympic Games. It was held between the 24th of August and the 5th of September 2021. The event played host to Paralympic athletes from all over the world. This year’s Paralympic games saw African athletes triumph in multiple games.
Paralympic athletes display great determination and courage to overcome mental and physical obstacles. These athletes prove that disability is a thing of the mind. Let’s take a brief look at how African Paralympic athletes have fared in previous Paralympics.
How African athletes have fared in previous Paralympics
Several African countries have performed well in the past few years in the Paralympics. However, perennial achievers who have always guaranteed medals for the continent include Tunisia, Nigeria, South Africa, Egypt, Algeria, and Kenya. Also, these countries are all ranked in the top 55 on the all-time Olympic table.
Nonetheless, here are Africa’s top 10 Paralympic medalists so far; in brackets is the rank of these African countries on the Summer Games’ all-time medal table.
#1: South Africa 304 medals (17)
#2: Egypt 164 medals (30)
#3: Tunisia 104 medals (32)
#4: Nigeria 80 medals (35)
#5: Algeria 85 medals (40)
#6: Kenya 48 medals (51)
#7: Morocco 38 medals (53)
#8: Angola 8 medals (75)
#9: Zimbabwe 17 medals (84)
#10: Namibia 10 medals (85)
African Paralympics athletes that won gold in Tokyo 2020
Nearly 87 countries took part in the Tokyo Paralympics. Interestingly, the African continent was heavily represented and won 63 medals, 21 of which were gold.
It is essential to also know that despite the constraints linked to the COVID-19, notably the absence of an audience, Africa’s flag bearers at the Paralympic Games offered remarkable performances during the various events. Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco, and Nigeria have been the locomotives of the continent.
Moreover, Algeria is the African country with the most medals (12 medals) including four gold medals. Here are African Paralympic athletes who won gold in Tokyo 2020.
#1: Asmahane Boudjadar (Algeria) – Athletics
Asmahane is one of the African Paralympic athletes who won a gold medal in the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics. She was born on the 13th of June, 1980. Asmahane began her career when she took up throwing sports in 2012 in Constantine, Algeria. She also won the gold medal in the F33 shot put at the 2016 Summer Paralympics.
#2: Safia Djelal (Algeria) – Athletics
Safia took up athletics in 1998 in Batna, Algeria. She won a gold medal in category F56-58 javelin throw events. She competed in the 2004 Summer Paralympics in Athens, Greece. Consequently, she won a gold medal in the women’s F56-F58 javelin throw event. She also competed in the F56-F58 shot put and discus events.
#3: Skander Djamil Athmani (Algeria) – Athletics
Skander Djamil Athmani is an Algerian Paralympic athlete. He made his maiden Paralympic appearance representing Algeria at the 2020 Summer Paralympics, where he won a Gold medal in the men’s 400m T13 event. Also, he took part in the men’s 100m T13 event at the 2020 Summer Paralympics and claimed a silver medal in an electrifying final.
He clocked 10.54 seconds as he finished just 0.01 seconds behind defending Paralympic champion and veteran para-athlete Jason Smyth of Ireland. Also, Skander was part of the men’s 4×100m team, which claimed a bronze medal at the 2014 African Championships.
#4: Cherine Abdellaoui (Algeria) –Judo
Cherine Abdellaoui is one of the African Paralympic athletes that won the gold medal in the women’s 52 kg event at the Tokyo 2020 Summer Paralympics. Also, Cherine represented Algeria at the 2016 Summer Paralympics held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and she won a bronze medal in the women’s 52 kg event. She also won a silver medal at the IBSA Judo Grand Prix held in Baku, Azerbaijan, in 2019.
#5: Raoua Tlili (Tunisia) – Athletics
Raoua Tlili is a Paralympian athlete from Tunisia that took part in the category F41 shot put and discus events. She has also won many gold medals at the Paralympics: The 2008 Summer Paralympics in Beijing, China, where she won a gold medal in the women’s shot put F40 event throwing a new world record of 8.95 meters, the 2012 Summer Paralympics in London, UK, and the 2016 Summer Olympics.
#6: Walid Ktila (Tunisia) – Athletics
Walid Ktila is a Paralympic wheelchair racer from Tunisia who competes in short and middle distances in the T34 category. Also, he won many gold medals in all 100–800 m events at the 2013, 2015, and 2017 world championships. Walid won three gold medals and one silver at the 2012 and 2016 Paralympics. In addition, he added more gold medals to his name with two in the 2020 Tokoyo Paralympics.
#7: Chentouf El Amin (Morocco) – Athletics
El Amin Chentouf is one of the African Paralympic athletes that takes part in T12 distance races. He represented Morocco at two Summer Paralympics, winning gold medals at both the 2012 and 2016 Games. Besides participating in Paralympic games, Chentouf is also a world series Marathon champion, winning the T12/13 event at three London Marathons.
#8: Derhem Zakariae (Morocco) – Athletics
Zakariae Derhem is a Moroccan Paralympic athlete who won the gold medal in the men’s shot put F33 event at the Tokyo 2020 Summer Paralympics.
#9: Abdeslam Hili (Morocco) – Athletics
Abdeslam Hili is a Paralympic athlete who specializes in sprints. However, he represented Morocco in the 400 meters T12 event at the 2020 Summer Paralympics and won gold. He also made up the three athletes that won a gold medal for Morocco.
#10: Ugwunwa Flora (Nigeria) – Athletics
Flora Ugwunwa is a Nigerian Paralympic athlete that took part in the F54-classification events. She represented Nigeria at the 2016 Summer Paralympics held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and won the gold medal in the women’s javelin throw F54 event. Furthermore, Flora also went on to set a new record 0f 20.25m at this event.
She represented Nigeria at the 2020 Summer Paralympics in Tokyo. Interestingly, she won a gold medal for her country after winning the silver medal in the women’s javelin throw F54 event at the 2019 World Para Athletics Championships held in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
#11: Latifat Tijani (Nigeria) – Powerlifting
Latifat Tijani is a Nigerian powerlifter. She won gold in the women’s 45kg event at the 2015 African Games in Brazzaville, Republic of Congo. In 2016, however, she competed in the women’s 45kg event at the 2016 Summer Paralympics. Eventually, she lifted 106kg to win silver. In the 2020 Tokyo 2020, she won the gold medal in the women’s 45kg event.
#12: Bose Omolayo (Nigeria) – Powerlifting
Bose Omolayo is another Nigerian powerlifter. She won the gold medal in the women’s 79 kg event at the 2020 Summer Paralympics. Bose competed in the women’s +61 kg event at the 2014 Commonwealth Games and won a silver medal.
#13: Folashade Oluwafemiayo (Nigeria) – Powerlifting
Folashade Alice Oluwafemiayo is one of the gold medalists at the 2020 Paralympics. She won the gold medal in the women’s 85kg category.
#14: Nicolas Pieter Du Preez (South Africa) – Cycling
Nicolas Pieter du Preez is a South African athlete in para-triathlon. He was the first person with tetraplegia to ever finish an Ironman Triathlon in 2014. Subsequently, Nicolas started partaking and has become a seven-time winner since 2012. He won the men’s time trial H1 road cycling event at the Tokyo 2020 summer Paralympics.
#15: Anrune Weyers (South Africa) – Athletics
Anrune Weyers is a South African para-athlete. She started doing competitive athletics in 2010. Weyers was born with a congenital disability in her left arm. She competed in the T47 disability class.
#16: Ntando Mahlangu (South Africa) – Athletics
Ntando Mahlangu is a Paralympic athlete from South Africa. He won the gold medal in both the men’s long jump T63 and men’s 200 meters T61 events at the 2020 Summer Paralympics.
#17: Tigist Gezahagn MENIGSTU (Ethiopia) – Athletics
Tigist Gezahagn Mengistu is an Ethiopian Paralympic athlete. She made her maiden Paralympic appearance representing Ethiopia at the 2020 Summer Paralympics. Interestingly, she became the first-ever gold medalist for Ethiopia in the history of the Paralympics.
Other African medalists
Countries like Egypt, Namibia, Kenya, and Uganda didn’t win any medal at the Paralympic Games, but they did make the continents proud. There were other exceptional athletes that did not win gold but either grabbed silver or bronze medals. See the full list below.
#1: Abdelkrim KRAI – Athletics – Algeria – Silver
#2: Kamel KARDJENA – Athletics – Algeria – Silver
#3: Nassima SAIFI – Athletics – Algeria – Silver
#4: Walid FERHAH – Athletics – Algeria – Bronze
#5: Mounia GASMI – Athletics – Algeria – Bronze
#6: Lynda HAMRI – Athletics – Algeria – Bronze
#7: Hocine BETTIR – Powerlifting – Algeria – Bronze
#8: Hocine BETTIR – Powerlifting – Algeria – Bronze
#9: Rouay JEBABLI – Athletics – Tunisia – Silver, and Bronze
#10: Yassine GUENICHI – Athletics – Tunisia – Silver
#11: Mohamed Farhat CHIDA – Athletics – Tunisia – Silver
#12: Ahmed BEN MOSLAH – Athletics – Tunisia – Silver
#13: Somaya BOUSAID – Athletics – Tunisia – Bronze
#14: Mohamed AMGUOUN – Athletics – Morocco – Silver
#15: Youssra KARIM – Athletics – Morocco – Silver
#16: Fouzia EL KASSIOUI – Athletics – Morocco – Silver
#17: Hayat EL GARAA – Athletics – Morocco – Bronze
#18: Maroc Saida AMOUDI – Athletics – Morocco – Bronze
#19: ONYE Lauritta – Athletics – Nigeria – Bronze
#20: OLUFEMI Alabi; FARINLOYE Victor; AGUNBIADE Tajudeen – Table Tennis – Nigeria – Bronze
#21: Eucharia IYIAZI – Athletics – Nigeria – Bronze
#22: Loveline OBIJI – Powerlifting – Nigeria – Silver
#23: Lucy EJIKE – Powerlifting – Nigeria – Bronze
#24: Olaitan IBRAHIM – Powerlifting – Nigeria – Bronze
#25: Mohamed ELZAYAT – Taekwondo – Egypt– Silver
#26: Sherif OSMAN – Powerlifting – Egypt – Silver
#27: Mahmoud ATTIA – Powerlifting – Egypt – Silver
#28: Rehab AHMED – Powerlifting – Egypt – Silver
#29: Fatma OMAR – Powerlifting – Egypt – Silver
#30: Mohamed ELELFAT – Powerlifting – Egypt – Bronze
#31: Hany ABDELHADY – Powerlifting – Egypte – Bronze
#32: Louzanne COETZEE – Athletics – South Africa – Silver and Bronze
#33: Sheryl JAMES – Athletics – South Africa – Bronze
#34: Ohannes NAMBALA – Athletics – Namibia – Bronze
#35: Ananias SHIKONGO – Athletics – Namibia – Silver
#36: Nancy Chelangat KOECH – Athletics – Kenya – Bronze
#37: David EMONG – Athletics – Ugunda – Bronze
Five years after the Rio Olympics, many African countries were unable to send physically challenged athletes to compete at the Tokyo Paralympics. This year was a bit different and the continent’s performance was above average, as many African Paralympic athletes represented their countries well.
Tunisia ranked 28th with a total of 11 medals including 4 golds placing them first among all the African countries. Nonetheless, Africa needs to do more in the Paralympics by creating better infrastructural facilities for athletes, investing more in sports, and also equipping trainers to help Paralympic athletes. With the right learning infrastructure, the continent can rake in more gold.