Uganda and Ethiopia have won medals at the ongoing Tokyo Olympic games in Japan, joining Egypt, Cote divoire, South Africa and Tunisia as African teams that won medals.
As at the close of games on Friday, a total of 71 countries had won medals while China topped the medal table with 20 gold, 12 silver and 12 bronze medals. China is closely followed by Japan with 17 gold, 4 silver and 8 bronze medals. The United States is on the third position with 16 gold, 17 silver and 12 bronze medals. Overall, Team USA has won more medals that any other country with a total haul of 45 medals as compared to 44 and 29 for China and Japan, respectively.
Nigeria, which is yet to win a medal is counting on the track and field events. Two of the country’s athletes won their respective heats on Friday and will be going into the qualifiers today. However, the female basketball team were defeated by France on Friday.
Blessing Okagbare and Grace Nwokocha – Nigeria’s two representatives in the women’s 100m – started their campaign on very good notes on Friday as they both sealed automatic qualification to the semi-finals of the event after some scintillating performance in the heats.
Up against the fastest woman alive Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce amongst others in Heat 5, Nwokocha stepped up well to the occasion and clocked a new Personal Best of 11.00s (+1.3)on what’s her first appearance in a major international competition.
The 20-year-old Nigerian’s time could only get her a third place finish behind Fraser-Pryce (10.84s) and Switzerland’s Ajia del Ponte (10.91s NR) in her heat, but that’s just enough to see through to the semis.
Not long after, in Heat 6, Okagbare breezed through to a win in 11.05s, so easy was it for her that she jogged through the final 10 meters thereabout.
For the semi-finals which will be staged tomorrow, Saturday, Okagbare is entered in the first heat. Alongside her will be world no. 2 Dina Asher-Smith and defending champion Elaine Thomson. The Nigerian will need a top-two finish to seal automatic qualification to the final, which will take place not long after tomorrow.
Entry list of Semi-final 1 of the women’s 100m at the Tokyo Olympics
Meanwhile, Nwokocha has been drawn in a tough Semi-final 3 alongside Thompson, Murielle Ahoure and Teahna Daniels. She will race from lane 8.
Entry list for Semi-final 3 of the women’s 100m at the Tokyo Olympics
The semi-finals start by 11:15am (Nigerian time) tomorrow.