As the Olympic Games begin in Tokyo on 23 July, we take a look at some of the African athletes to watch out for during the tournament – from newcomers to established champions seeking yet more success.
This year, five new occasions have been added to the Olympics – surfing, sport climbing, baseball/softball, skating and karate – and some African competitors are partaking.
Tokyo 2020 Olympics: African Athletes to watch
35 Olympians in total
Taoufik Makhloufi is a middle-distance runner (800m and 1,500m races).
Nijel Amos, from Botswana, is a runner and silver medalist at the 800m at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Hugues Fabrice is a Burkinabé triple jumper who won a bronze medal at the 2019 World Athletics Championships.
Cheick Cissé made history when he won Ivory Coast’s first ever Olympic gold medal at the Rio 2016 Olympics.
Marie-Josée Ta Lou is an Ivorian sprinter who runs 100m and 200m.
Ruth Gbagbi is an Ivorian taekwondo athlete and Rio 2016 bronze Olympic medallist. She is also the 2017 World Champion and currently ranked world number 2 in the 67kg category.
Azmy Mehelba is an Egyptian shooter making a third Olympic appearance at the Tokyo games.
Giana Mohamed Farouk Lofty is an Egyptian karateka who is making her Olympic debut in Tokyo.
Merhawi Kudus, 27 is an Eritrean cyclist who took the third position in the individual general classification of the Turkey 2019 Cycling Tour.
Letesenbet Gidey is an Ethiopian marathon runner and world-record holder. Gidey holds the 5,000m world record and recently broke the 10,000m record.
Selemon Barega is an Ethiopian long-distance runner who won the silver medal for the 5,000m at the 2019 World Athletics Championships.
Gina Bass is a Gambian sprinter who won the gold medal in the women’s 200m race at the Rabat 2019 African Games.
Brigid Kosgei is a Kenyan marathon runner who won in Chicago in 2018 and 2019 and in London in 2019 and 2020.
Eliud Kipchoge is a professional long-distance runner.
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.
Ramzi Boukhiam is a professional surfer.
Deisy Nhaquile is a Mozambican sailor who’ll be featuring in an Olympic Games for the first time at Tokyo 2020.
Blessing Okagbare is a Nigerian long jump and short sprints athlete.
Ese Brume is one of three African women jumpers to exceed 7m.
Rodney Govinden will be representing Seychelles at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
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 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.
Caitlin Rooskrantz is set to make her debut at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
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.
Boipelo Awuah is the first skateboarder from South Africa at the Olympics.
South Africa’s Rugby Sevens Team, also known as the Blitzboks, won a bronze medal at the Rio 2016 Olympics.
Ons Jabeaur is a Tunisian tennis player and the first North African to win a Women’s Tennis Association title.
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
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.
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.
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 is making his Olympic debut at this year’s games. In 2019, the Zimbabwean golfer finished 4th at the Japan Open Golf Championships.
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.
Angola women’s national handball team also known as The Pearls are the 2021 African Women’s Handball Champions.
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.
These African athletes represent the different regions of the continent. They were chosen dependent on their Olympic experience, number of awards won and the uniqueness of their game.