The Rio 2016 Olympic Games came to an end on Sunday, with numerous Olympic records set or broken throughout the competition which was held in Brazil.
Athletes from countries all over Africa put in fantastic performances during the Games, clocking fast times, winning gold medals and achieving firsts for nations and the continent in general.
Here are 12 Olympic records and milestones set by Africans at the recently-concluded Olympic Games in Rio.
Nigerian table tennis star Segun Toriola became the first African across all sports to compete at seven Olympic Games with his appearance in Rio. He began his incredible journey towards this record with a debut at the Barcelona Games in 1992.
South African Wayde Van Niekerk stole the Olympic spotlight with a phenomenal men’s 400m victory at Rio 2016, setting a new world record in the event and earning his country’s first Olympic gold medal at the competition. The 24-year-old broke the 17-year record held by American Michael Johnson with a time of 43.03 seconds in the one-lap race.
Kenyan Olympic champion and world record holder David Rudisha successfully defended his Olympic men’s 800m crown at the Games in Rio. Rudisha powered through the two laps, putting in a fantastic final 300m to secure the win in a time of one minute 42.15 seconds.
The 2016 Olympic Games saw rugby sevens introduced to the competition for the very first time, and South Africa’s Blitzboks made sure of a place on the podium with a bronze finish, although they would have preferred a silver or gold.
Ethiopia’s Almaz Ayana stunned the world with an incredible women’s 10,000m victory in a world record time of 29:17.45, dominating the long-distance race and defeating favoured compatriot Tirunesh Dibaba, who finished bronze, as well as silver medallist from Kenya, Vivian Cheruiyot. Cheruiyot would have her day in the 5,000m later in the competition, while Ayana would finish third in that race.
South Africa earned 10 medals at Rio 2016, their best medal haul since readmission to sport following apartheid, while equalling the country’s best medal tallies from Antwerp 1920 and Helsinki 1952. Two gold, six silver and two bronze medals for Team SA translates to a successful Games for the South Africans.
Conseslus Kipruto won the men’s 3,000m steeplechase gold medal with an Olympic record time of 8:03.28 to extend Kenya’s incredible winning streak in the event. He defeated American Evan Jager and Frenchman Mahiedine Mekhissi-Benabbad in second and third respectively.
The South African swimmer earned two silver medals in Rio this year to add to the gold and silver he had achieved in London four years ago, making him the most decorated South African Olympian of all time.
The Kenyans have always been dominant on the athletics track, especially with regards to long-distance. They had never won a field medal before, but this changed in Rio with Julius Yego winning silver in the men’s javelin with a throw of 88.24m.
While the 5,000m and 10,000m podiums are often dominated by top Kenyan athletes, the men’s marathon at the Olympics had never been won by a Kenya, until now. Eliud Kipchoge won the men’s marathon in Rio in a time of 2:08:44 to make history for his country, while Jemima Sumgong of Kenya won the women’s marathon.
The Nigerian Under-23 side earned a bronze medal in the men’s football competition with a third-place victory over Honduras. While the Dream Team would have preferred gold, the bronze now means they have a full set of Olympic medals after winning gold at Atlanta 1996, and silver at Beijing 2004.
Making up for her second-place finish in the women’s 10,000m race, Kenya’s Vivian Cheruiyot ensured her place in history with an Olympic record breaking victory in the 5,000m in a time of 14:26.17.