Ethiopia’s Selemon Barega bags first athletics gold medal in Tokyo Olympics

Ethiopi’a’s Selemon Barega wins a 10,000m race in Tokyo Olympics. [Image: courtesy]
Ethiopia—Selemon Barega an Ethiopian athlete has won the first athletics gold of the Tokyo Olympics. A quick finish from Barega saw him clock ahead of Uganda’s world record holder Joshua Cheptagei who bagged Silver.

Earlier in the athletics Marie Josee Ta Lou equaling the African 1000m record as she qualified for Saturday’s semi-finals.

The first 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 first for the world record holder and champion from Uganda Joshua Cheptegei who had to claim silver ahead of the compatriot Jacob Kiplimo in third.

In the heats of the women 5000m Kenya’s Hellen Obiri who won Silver, and in  Rio Games in 2016, finished second in her heat behind the fastest in the world this year. Ethiopia’s Gudaf Tsegay, she also qualified for Monday’s final.

Three other Africans qualified for the Semifinals, are the Nigerian duo of Blessing Okagbare and Gra Nwokocha as well as the Gambia’s Gina Bass, who set a new national record of 11.2s in her heat.

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

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

In the men’s 3000m steeplechase Ethiopia’s Lamech 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.