Nigeria is set to have its first female Olympic canoe sprint athlete following the African Tokyo 2020 qualifiers in Morocco.
Ayomide Bello’s win in the women’s C1 200 event in Rabat earned Nigeria an Olympic quota for that event. Nigeria’s only other Olympic canoe sprint athlete was Jonathan Akinyemi, who competed at the 2012 London Olympics.
Also, Tunisia’s Mohamed Mrabet has put himself in line for a third Olympics after winning the men’s K1 1000 at the African Games. Mrabet competed in the K1 200 at London, and then in both the K1 200 and K1 1000 in Rio in 2016.
Tunisia is in line to have at least three athletes in Tokyo, after Ghailene Khattali won the men’s C1 1000, and Khaoula Sassi finished second in the women’s K1 200 behind South Africa’s Esti Van Tonder.
South Africa potentially could have three athletes in Tokyo, after Christian Coetzee won the men’s K1 200, Esti Van Tonder won the women’s K1 200 and 500, but can only qualify in one event, and 2012 Olympian Bridgette Hartley teamed up with Donna Hutton to win the women’s K2 500.
As each country can only earn a maximum of two quota places per category through continental qualifications, it means South Africa will have to make the difficult decision of whether to hold on to the K2 500 or the K1 500.
Buly Triste, who carried his country’s flag at the 2016 Rio opening ceremony, helped Sao Tome and Principe earn two Tokyo quotas by partnering Roque dos Ramos to victory in the men’s C2 1000.
It would be the third Olympic Games for the Sao Tome canoe sprint team, after their debut in Beijing in 2008. Triste competed in the C1 1000 in Rio.
While the first African country quotas have now been awarded, it will be up to each national Olympic committee to decide which athletes to send.
Meanwhile, at the Federation’s General Assembly in Kigali, Rwanda last week, Dame Louise Martin DBE was re-elected Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) President for a second four-year term after she took up the role in 2015, when she became the first female to hold this office in the history of the Commonwealth Sports Movement.
She has a long and distinguished association with the Games as an athlete – swimming for Team Scotland at the Perth 1962 Commonwealth Games – and thereafter as Team Manager, Administrator and Honorary Secretary.
She was appointed a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire by Her Majesty The Queen in the 2019 New Year Honours List.
The quadrennial elections saw three CGF Vice-Presidents elected: Kereyn Smith (New Zealand) Chris Jenkins (Wales) and Bruce Robertson (Canada).
Also, three new Regional Vice-Presidents were also elected to the Executive Board: Americas with Judy Simons J.P (Bermuda), Asia with Chris Chan (Singapore) and Europe with Harry Murphy (Gibraltar). Then, Miriam Moyo of Zambia, Caribbean with Fortuna Belrose (Saint Lucia) and Oceania with Hugh Graham (Cook Islands) were all returned as the Regional Vice- Presidents.
Engr Sani Ndanusa was elected from Africa in the elections that took place for every position on the Sports Committee alongside Americas electing Linda Cuthbert (Canada), Asia electing Lt. Gen. Syed Arif Hasan (Pakistan), Caribbean electing Ephraim Penn (British Virgin Islands), Europe electing Helen Phillips (Wales) and Oceania electing Craig Phillips (Australia).
In addition to the elections, the General Assembly saw the approval of a refreshed Transformation 2022 strategy and the continued evolution of the CGF’s Governance and Regulations while deliberations took place to further evolve the Commonwealth Games Sports Programme while the new CGF Brand and Logo was formally showcased for the very first time.
The Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) is the organisation that is responsible for the direction and control of the Commonwealth Games, and for delivering on the vision of the Commonwealth Sports Movement: to build peaceful, sustainable and prosperous communities globally by inspiring Commonwealth Athletes to drive the impact and ambition of all Commonwealth Citizens through Sport.