HomeSportAthleticsTokyo Olympics: SA's Schoenmaker and Ehiopia's Selemon Barega both win gold on...

Tokyo Olympics: SA’s Schoenmaker and Ehiopia’s Selemon Barega both win gold on day seven


Ethiopia’s Selemon Barega won the first athletics gold of the Tokyo Olympics while in the pool there was a gold and a world record for South Africa’s Tatjana Schoenmaker.

A quick finish from Barega saw him finish ahead of Uganda’s world record hold Joshua Cheptegei, who claimed the silver.

Earlier in the athletics Ivory Coast’s Marie-Josee Ta Lou equalling the African 100m record as she qualified for Saturday’s semi-finals.

Athletics evening session:

The first athletics gold of the Tokyo Olympics was won by Ethiopia’s Selemon Barega as he won the men’s 10,000m.

The 21-year-old’s fast finish was too much for the world record holder and world champion Joshua Cheptegei from Uganda, who had to settle for silver ahead of his compatriot Jacob Kiplimo in third.

In the heats of the women’s 5,000m Kenya’s Hellen Obiri, who won silver that Rio Games in 2016, finished second in her heat behind the fastest in the world this year, Ethiopia’s Gudaf Tsegay, as both qualified for Monday’s final.

Kenyans Agnes Tirop and Lilian Kasait Rengeruk as well as Ethiopian duo Senbere Teferi and Ejgayehu Taye are also through to that final.

However disappointment for Burundi’s Francine Niyonsaba who finished fourth in her heat to claim a place in the final but was disqualified after the race for stepping off the track.

The 28-year-old had been forced to step up from her preferred 800m, in which she won silver Rio in 2016, rather than taking testosterone-reducing drugs.

Under the latest World Athletics regulations Niyonsaba is classified as having ‘Differences of Sexual Development’ – or ‘DSD’ – and so is not allowed to compete in events between 400m and a mile without taking testosterone-reducing drugs.

Athletics morning session:

Ivory Coast’s Marie-Josee Ta Lou clocked the fastest time in the women’s 100m heats to qualify for tomorrow’s semi finals.

She clocked 10.78 seconds to equal her compatriot’s Murielle Ahoure African record for the distance. Ahoure also went through having finished third in her heat.

Three other African qualified for the semi finals – the Nigerian duo of Blessing Okagbare and Grace Nwokocha as well as The Gambia’s Gina Bass, who set a new national record of 11.12s in her heat.

“I am just in shock, I know I was ready but I was not planning to run fast in the first heat I just run relaxed I push for 50m and then I was gone, that track must be fast, so we will see tomorrow,” Ta Lou said after her race.

“My training since 2019 has not been that easy because I have had many injuries even this year, I didn’t know how fast I was going to be but God knows best.”

In the men’s 3,000m steeplechase Ethiopia’s Lamecha Girma qualified fastest for Monday’s final and will be joined in that race by compatriot Getnet Wale.

Also through are Kenyans Benjamin Kigen and Abraham Kibiwott, Eritrean Yemane Haileselassie as well as Moroccan duo Soufiane El Bakkali and Mohamed Tindouft.

In the women’s 800m, Uganda’s Winnie Nanyondo, Ethiopia’s Habitam Alemu Benin’s Noelie Yarigo finished second in their respective heats to qualify for Saturday’s semi-finals.

Kenya’s Mary Moraa and Moroccan Rababe Arafi also qualified with a third place finishes in their heats while Ugandan world champion Halimah Nakaayi qualified among the six best losers.

The Kenyan duo of former world champion Eunice Sum and Emily Tuei both failed to progress..

In the men’s high jump Kenya’s Matthew Sawe could only manage a clearance of 2.17 metres which was not enough for him to compete in Sunday’s final.

South Africa’s Tatjana Schoenmaker won her second medal of the Games as she posted one of the stand out performances in Tokyo as she broke the world record to win gold the women’s 200m breaststroke.

Her time of 2:18.95 eclipsed the record of Denmark’s Rikke Moller Pedersen sent in 2013.

It was a second medal of the Games for the 24-year-old South African after she won silver in the 100m breaststroke.

“It still hasn’t sunk in. I don’t wish my Olympic dream over, but I am excited to go and celebrate even just being at the Olympics with my parents,” she said after her victory.

She also paid tribute to fellow South African and 1996 double Olympic breaststroke champion Penny Heyns.

“I see her (Heyns) at major competitions which is amazing. For her to come and say good luck and congrats is so special because she used to be such an amazing swimmer and has such a name in the swimming world,” she added.

“For her to come to us – even though I haven’t achieved much yet – is very special.”

Later on her compatriot Emma Chelius clinched a place in women’s 50m freestyle semi-finals as she recorded the equal 11th fastest time.


Nigeria’s women slumped to a second defeat of the Games as they lost 87-62 to France, where fourth overall at the Rio Games in 2016.

The Nigerians will have to win their final Group B game against hosts Japan on Monday to have any chance at all of reaching the quarter-finals.

Beach Volleyball

In the men’s event Morocco’s Mohammed Abicha and Elgraoui Zouheir suffered their third straight sets defeat at the hands of Chilean cousins Marco Grimalt and Esteban Grimalt 2-0 (21-14, 21-12). It means the Moroccan pair are now out of the Olympics.


South Africa men’s exit from the tournament was confirmed on Friday despite a 4-4 draw with Canada, who also crashed out of the Games too.

The South Africans finished fifth in Group A with four points thanks to the draw with Canada and Thursday’s win over Germany.

There was a fourth straight defeat in Tokyo for South Africa women’s team as they were beaten 4-1 by Germany, to leave them bottom of Pool A.

They will have to win their final match against India by a huge margin and hope Ireland lose to Great Britain to have any chance of reaching the last eight.

There was disappointment in the ring for two African welterweight fighters fell just short of claiming a medal as they both lost in Friday’s quarter-finals.

In the men’s Mauritius’s Merven Clair lost 4-1 on points to Ireland’s Aidan Walsh while Acinda Panguana of Mozambique went down 5-0 to China’s Gu Hong in the women’s category.

Wins for the pair would have guaranteed them at least a bronze medal as both losing semi-finalists in boxing are awarded medals.

It means that Rady Garmane now has the chance to become only the second Mozambican athlete to ever win an Olympic medal after 800m great Maria Mutola won gold in Sydney 2000 after claiming bronze four years earlier in Atlanta.

She takes on Zemfira Magomedalieva from the Russian Olympic Committee team in Saturday’s quarter-finals.

Canoe Slalom

Morocco’s Mathis Soudi finished 18th out of the 20 competitors in the semi-finals of the kayak event, which was not enough for him to progress to the final that was won by Jiri Prskavec of Czech Republic.

Rugby Sevens

Kenya’s women lost their third and final group game in Tokyo as Great Britain emerged 31-0 winners.

The Kenyans then managed to beat hosts Japan 21-17 in the play-offs for 9th to 12th places and will Canada on Friday to decide who finishes ninth overall. – BBCSport

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