Sunday, September 2, 2012

African Paralympians Shine in London - 10 Gold Medals and Counting !

Yakubu Adesokan of Nigeria shows off his gold medal after setting a new world record during the Men's 48kg Powerlifting on Day 1 of the London 2012 Paralympic Games

The 2012 Paralympic Games are underway in London and only in its 5th day, African nations have already grabbed a combined 10 Gold medals, just 1 Gold medal shy of the total Gold medals won by all African countries at the Olympic Games 4 weeks ago. Quite impressive, I must say, given the limited resources and training facilities available to disabled athletes in most African nations.

A strong showing from the continent, there are a total of 43 nations and 308 athletes participating from the continent.  Nigeria leads the medal table with 4 Gold medals already and 4 Silver medals. South Africa is second with 2 Gold medals, 3 Silver medals and and 4 Bronze. Stay tuned for more news and wins by these African Heroes.

Yakubu Adesokan of Nigeria celebrates his Gold medal win
Yakubu Adesokan of Nigeria celebrates his Gold medal win
Jonathan Ntutu of South Africa (2nd from the right) wins Bronze in the mens 100m
Ivory Nwokorie (middle) wins Gold in the Women's 44kg Powerlifting

A Sports Day For War Veterans Becomes A Global Event - The Paralympic Games

An archery class at the Ministry of Pensions Spinal Centre at Stoke Mandeville Hospital in 1949. Photograph: Raymond Kleboe/Getty Images

If you have a loved one or know of someone with a physical disability, then you must be aware of the rehabilitative benefits of sports in the lives of these individuals. Far beyond its rehabilitative benefits, sports brings a sort of camaraderie,a competitive spirit and enhances an active lifestyle for individuals with disabilities. Just as Dr. Ludwig Guttman intended, sports has continued to play an important part in the lives of the disabled and is evident in the performance of today's paralympians from all over the world.

The history of athletic games for the disabled can be traced back to World War II, mainly from efforts by an English doctor named Ludwig Guttman. Known as the "Father of Sport For the Disabled", Dr. Guttman was a strong advocate for using sports therapy to enhance the quality of life of people who were injured or wounded during World War II.

Dr. Guttman organized the 1948 International Wheelchair Games to coincide with the 1948 London Olympics. His dream was of a worldwide sports competition for people with disabilities to be held every four years as “the equivalent of the Olympic Games.” Twelve years later, his dream became a reality.

The first Paralympic Games were held in Rome, Italy, in 1960 and involved 400 athletes from 23 countries. Originally, only wheelchair athletes were invited to compete. Since that time, the Paralympic Games have grown dramatically. The present-day Paralympic Games include five major classifications of athletes: persons with visual impairments, persons with physical disabilities, amputee athletes, people with cerebral palsy, people with spinal cord injuries and Les Autres - athletes with a physical disability that are not included in the categories mentioned above.

Just like the London 2012 theme message "Inspire a generation", Dr. Guttman inspired a generation of disabled athletes and the Paralympic Summer Games are now the second largest sporting event in the world today, the first largest being the Olympic Games.

The Paralympic Games are underway in London, from August 29 - September 9, 2012.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Gold was the Goal. Few African Nations Achieved it.

 Medal Count of African Nations - London 2012 Olympics
1South Africa3216
 (Data: courtesy of

When the 2012 Olympic Games kicked off on July 27th, there were 204 countries, all with one goal. To take home a medal. Gold was the goal. Silver and Bronze medals were targets as well. But not winning any medal at all was not the hope of any nation. 53 African nations participated in the 2012 Olympics and as the games came to an end, there was rarely a medal of any kind for most of the African nations. Six countries won at least one gold medal and four countries won at least a silver or a bronze medal. 43 countries did not collect any medal.

There is much to be said about the poor performance of African countries at the Olympics, especially the 43 countries who did not make it to the medal podium at all. Is poverty, corruption and politics keeping Africa's elite athletes from stepping on the medal podium?

Friday, August 10, 2012

Nijel Amos Grabs Botswana's First Ever Olympic Medal

Amos celebrating Botswana's First Ever Medal

Botswana made its debut in the Olympic Games in 1980 in Moscow and  since then, the nation has never won any Olympic medal in their last 8 Olympic appearances. Although many had predicted Amantle Montsho (women's 400m) will be the first to lift an Olympic medal for Botswana, it was Nijel Amos who took care of business on Thursday as he powered through the finish line for a Silver medal win in the men's 800m. It was a complete African sweep in the men's 800m, with Lekuta Rudisha of Kenya grabbing Gold and Timothy Kitum of Kenya with the Bronze.

Well done Nijel! A true trend-setter for Botswana and other African nations who are still in search for their first Olympic medal.

A medal sweep in the 800m by Africans. Allez mes freres!

Fortune favors the brave!

(Photos:courtesy of

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Ivory Coast and Nigeria Eyeing a Gold Medal Tonight

Murielle Ahoure of Ivory Coast has her eyes on Gold tonight in the 200m

Ivory Coast and Nigeria will have a chance to grab a gold medal tonight in the final of the women's 200m and the women's 400m hurdle respectively. Ivory Coast' Murielle Ahoure, who came in second in the 200m semi-final last night, is a favorite to grab the medal and be the first to put West Africa on the Medal table. Murielle was also the 2009 NCAA indoor champion in the 200m while running for the University of Miami. The 200m kicks off at 9pm tonight.

Muizat Odomusu clears a hurdle in the semifinal of the 400m hurdle

Muizat Ajoke Odumosu of Nigeria will also be eyeing her first Olympic gold medal tonight in the women's 400m hurdles. Muizat has won gold at the 2010 Commonwealth games in the 400m hurdles and it will be a dream come true if she can do the same at the Olympics. The 400m hurdle kicks off at 8.45pm

Bonne chance les filles!! In Gold we trust!

(Photos courtesy of

Algeria's Taoufik Makhloufi Survives a Scare and Scrambles For Gold!

Taoufik Makhloufi celebrates a gold medal win in the mens 1500m

One day after being disqualified from the Olympic Games due to what  many considered as a lack or sportsmanship or morale fiber, Algeria's Taoufik Makhloufi wins gold in the men's1500m then next day when the decision was overturned by the IAAF.

The International Association of Athletics Federations had initially taken a view of the Algerian's 800m performance, in which he jogged barely 150m before opting to drop out and wander back across the infield. "The referee considered he had not provided a bona fide effort and decided to exclude him from participation in all further events in the competition," said an IAAF statement. LOCOG, however, later released a statement confirming the disqualification had been revoked after a medical certificate was supplied by a local doctor suggesting he had a knee problem.

Maybe Makhloufi truly had a knee injury during the 800m or maybe he was saving his knees for the best race of his life!

(Photo: courtesy of

Monday, August 6, 2012

After Week 1, Low Medal Count For African Countries at the Olympics

South Africa
 Medal count of all African Nations as of Monday August 6, 2012    

With only 6 more days left before the closing ceremony for the 2012 Games, the medal count of African nations has not been impressive. The report card for most African countries has been very poor so far, with only five nations winning a medal and only three countries with gold. Clearly, there's been very little scrambling for gold !