TOKYO: The Tokyo Olympics have brought some unexpected gold medals for countries and teams which rarely, if ever, see their athletes on the podium. Here’s a look at some of the teams which have won events despite having little history of Olympic success.
The North African country had won four gold medals since its Olympic debut at the 1960 Rome Games. Make that five after a surprising win from the outside lane by 18-year-old swimmer Ahmed Hafnaoui in the men’s 400m freestyle. “I was in tears in my eyes because when I see the flag of my country and I hear the anthem in the background, it was great,” Hafnaoui said. He could reach the podium for the second time in the upcoming 800m, which has a final tomorrow.
After 97 years of competing at the Olympics, the Philippines finally has a gold medal to celebrate. Hidilyn Diaz was up against the world record holder in the women’s 55kg weightlifting category but still won. Diaz is now looking forward to a long-awaited return home after the coronavirus pandemic left her stranded in Malaysia without seeing family and friends. “To all the young generation in the Philippines, please dream high,” Diaz said.
Hong Kong last won a gold medal 25 years ago, a year before the port city was returned to China from Britain. Windsurfer Lee Lai Shan had a sculpture installed in her honour on the beachfront. Fencer Cheung Ka Long could be in line for a similar honour after he became Hong Kong’s second Olympic champion with victory in the men’s sabre on Monday. “It means a lot to show to the world we can do it,” Ka Long said.
The Atlantic island of only 65,000 people – they could all fit into the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo – has its first gold medallist after Flora Duffy won the women’s triathlon yesterday. She is one of only two athletes representing the self-governing British territory at the Tokyo Games. Duffy had to put up with wind and driving rain to win her gold as a storm moved up the Japanese coast. “I was Bermuda’s first medal hope in many years. I wanted to achieve this for myself and my country. I was overwhelmed,” she said.