12 African Nations With The Biggest Olympic Contingents

12 African Nations With The Biggest Olympic Contingents

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The Rio 2016 Olympic Games are only days away, and Olympic contingents have been finalised.

Sportsmen and women from all over the African continent have been preparing for these games for the last four years, and will form part of teams representing their nations on the greatest stage of all in Brazil.

With strict qualification criteria applied to all of the disciplines in the multi-sport event, qualifying to take part is no easy feat, and large African teams going to Rio can be very proud of their achievements.

We take a look at 12 of the African countries who are bringing large Olympic teams to Rio 2016.

Source: Sport24, AllAfrica, PeaceFMOnline, ThisDayLive, IAAF, Eurosport.

Isabelle Sambou of Senegal - africatopsuccess.com
Isabelle Sambou of Senegal – africatopsuccess.com


African wrestler of the decade Isabelle Sambou will be the flag bearer for a 22-person Senegal Olympic team in Rio, which will be nation’s fourteenth consecutive appearance at the Summer Olympics.

Cameroon boxer Wilfried Ntsengue - aiba.org
Cameroon boxer Wilfried Ntsengue – aiba.org


Cameroon have a total of 24 athletes who have managed to achieve qualification to take part in Rio 2016. Six sports will have a Cameroonian presence, including boxing, in which Wilfried Ntsengue will compete.

Angola handball team
The Angola handball team have qualified for Rio 2016 – dailymail.co.uk


A selection of 25 athletes will be in Rio de Janeiro during the Olympic Games this year, as they attempt to make their country proud while competing in sports such as athletics, handball, judo, rowing, sailing and swimming.

Kirsty Coventry of Zimbabwe
Kirsty Coventry of Zimbabwe – zimnewsnow.com


Zimbabwe is sending its second largest ever Olympic team to represent the country in Rio, with 31 athletes travelling to Brazil to compete for medals in sporting events that include athletics, soccer, equestrian, archery, rowing, swimming and shooting.

Tirunesh Dibaba of Ethiopia
Tirunesh Dibaba of Ethiopia – zimbio.com


The Ethiopian contingent at the Rio Olympics will be made up of a 33-person team that is focused on athletic glory on the track, with specific focus on the long distance events that Ethiopia is famous for.

Abdelkebir Ouaddar of Morocco
Abdelkebir Ouaddar of Morocco – ouest-france.fr


Equestrian competitor Abdelkebir Ouaddar will lead out a Moroccan team of 51 Olympians at the opening ceremony in Rio this weekend, with the country set to compete in events across 13 sports in Brazil this month.

Oussama Mellouli is a Tunisian swimming champion
Oussama Mellouli is a Tunisian swimming champion – Claude Grunitzky


With 61 athletes representing Tunisia in a total of 17 sports, the North African country is very well represented. Long distance swimmer and London 2012 gold medallist Oussama Mellouli will be Tunisia’s flag bearer.

Taoufik Makhloufi wins gold for Algeria
Taoufik Makhloufi won gold for Algeria in 2012 – zimbio.com


A selection of 64 athletes will form Algeria’s Olympic representation at the 2016 Games, with the large North African team competing in a variety of disciplines including track and field athletics, men’s soccer, boxing, fencing, wrestling, rowing, sailing, swimming, gymnastics and cycling.

John Obi Mikel - men's soccer squad
John Obi Mikel will lead the Nigerian men’s team in Rio – thetimes.co.uk


The Nigerian Olympic team is comprised of a total of 79 athletes in 9 sports, with a mission of making their nation proud in Brazil. The Dream Team VI men’s soccer team have qualified for Rio 2016, and will look to replicate the Atlanta 1996 gold medal winning run in Brazil.

Kenyan Athlete David Rudisha
Kenyan athlete David Rudisha is one to watch – (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)


As is often the case, Kenya will have one of the biggest Olympic contingents from Africa, with a total of 89 athletes set to compete in Brazil this August. The majority of those are from the athletics code in which Kenya often dominates, while other disciplines represented include judo, rugby sevens (both men’s and women’s), boxing and archery.

Egyptian swimmer Farida Osman
Egyptian swimmer Farida Osman could be a Rio 2016 star for Egypt – sport360.com


Egypt will have comprehensive representation at the 2016 Olympic Games, thanks to a team of 120 individuals who will take part in 20 disciplines during the course of the competition. Swimming, handball, shooting, judo and fencing will be competitive sports for the Egyptians in Brazil.

Wayde Van Niekerk Will Be Team SA Olympic Flag Bearer
Wayde Van Niekerk will be South Africa’s flag bearer – zeenews.india.com

South Africa

The biggest ever South African contingent of 137 athletes will be making an appearance at Rio 2016, with 39 of those in the athletics code. The men’s and women’s soccer teams have also qualified, as well as the men’s sevens rugby team, as South Africa attempts to earn a record medal haul.