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Ayomide Bello wins Tokyo 2020 African canoe sprint quota

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Ayomide Bello

Nigeria is set to have its first female Olympic canoe sprint athlete following the African Tokyo 2020 qualifiers in Morocco, where Ayomide Bello won in the women’s C1 200 event.

Bello’s win 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. 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.


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