Feature23 Jul 2021

Athletics flag bearers help to light up Olympic Opening Ceremony in Tokyo


Triple jumper Hugues Fabrice Zango from Burkina Faso (ยฉ Getty Images)

The wait is almost over and with all eyes on Tokyo's Olympic Stadium, 69 athletes from the sport of athletics will be among the flag bearers when the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 gets under way on Friday (23).

For the first time, each nation can be represented by two flag bearers, with 38 women and 31 men leading their nations before going on to compete in athletics at the Games.

A number of these athletes could also make history for their country when athletics action begins on 30 July and here are some of the stars to watch out for. 

Hugues Fabrice Zango, triple jump - Burkina Faso ๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ซ

Zango became the first athlete from his nation to win a World Championships medal thanks to his third place in Doha and now he could become the first person from Burkina Faso to win an Olympic medal in any sport. The 27-year-old broke the world indoor triple jump record of 18.07m in Aubiere in January and has also leapt a PB of 17.82m outdoors this year.

Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, 100m, 200m and 4x100m - Jamaica ๐Ÿ‡ฏ๐Ÿ‡ฒ

Sprint star Fraser-Pryce will be looking to regain the 100m title after her wins in 2008 and 2012 and add further medals to a collection which also includes two 4x100m silvers, a 200m silver and a 200m bronze. The 10.63 she ran in Kingston in June puts her second on the world 100m all-time list.

Joseph Fahnbulleh, 200m - Liberia ๐Ÿ‡ฑ๐Ÿ‡ท

No athlete from Liberia has ever finished in the top eight in their event at the Olympics, let alone won a medal, and sprinter Fahnbulleh will be looking to change that when he takes to the track for the 200m. The 19-year-old ran a PB of 19.91 to win the NCAA title in June.

Thea LaFond, triple jump - Dominica ๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ฒ

Dominica hasn’t yet won a medal in any Olympic sport but if she progresses beyond the qualifying round then triple jumper LaFond – who holds the national records of 14.54m indoors and 14.38m outdoors – will make further history for her nation, as no athlete from Dominica has ever competed in an Olympic final.

Alex Rose, discus - Samoa ๐Ÿ‡ผ๐Ÿ‡ธ

Rose competed at the Rio Olympics in 2016, placing 29th in discus qualifying, but he’s keen to become the first Samoan athlete ever to reach an Olympic final. He improved his national record to 67.48m in May. 

Athletics flag bearers at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Afghanistan (AFG) - Kimia Yousofi (women’s 100m)
Albania (ALB) - Luiza Gega (women’s 3000m steeplechase)
Andorra (AND) - Pol Moya (men’s 800m)
Antigua and Barbuda (ANT) - Cejhae Greene (men’s 100m)
Bahamas (BAH) - Donald Thomas (men’s high jump)
Belize (BIZ) - Samantha Dirks (women’s 400m) and Shaun Gill (men’s 100m)
Belgium (BEL) - Nafissatou Thiam (heptathlon) 
Bosnia and Herzegovina (BIH) - Amel Tuka (men’s 800m)
Botswana (BOT) - Amantle Montsho (women’s 400m)
Burkina Faso (BUR) - Hugues Fabrice Zango (men’s triple jump)
British Virgin Islands (IVB) - Kyron McMaster (men’s 400m hurdles)
Cambodia (CAM) - Sokong Pen (men’s 100m)
Cape Verde (CPV) - Jordin Andrade (men’s 400m hurdles)
Central African Republic (CAF) - Francky Mbotto (men’s 800m)
Colombia (COL) - Caterine Ibarguen (women’s triple jump)
Comoros (COM) - Amed Elna (women’s 100m) and Fadane Hamadi (men’s 110m hurdles)
Congo (CGO) - Natacha Ngoye Akamabi (women’s 100m)
Costa Rica (CRC) - Andrea Vargas (100m hurdles)
Croatia (CRO) - Sandra Perkovic (women’s discus)
Cuba (CUB) - Yaime Perez (women’s discus)
Cyprus (CYP) - Milan Trajkovic (110m hurdles)
Denmark (DEN) - Sara Peterson (women’s 400m hurdles)
Dominica (DMA) - Thea Lafond (women’s triple jump) and Dennick Luke (men’s 800m)
Equatorial Guinea (GEQ) - Alba Mbo Nchama (women’s 100m) and Benjamin Enzema (men’s 1500m)
Eritrea (ERI) - Nazret Weldu (women’s marathon)
Gambia (GAM) - Gina Bass (women’s 100m and 200m) and Ebrima Camara (men’s 100m)
Ghana (GHA) - Nadia Eke (women’s triple jump)
Guam (GUM) - Regine Kate Tugade (women’s 100m)
Israel (ISR) - Hanna Minenko (women’s triple jump)
Ivory Coast (CIV) - Marie-Josee Ta Lou (women’s 100m and 200m)
Jamaica (JAM) - Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce (women's 100m, 200m and 4x100m)
Kazakhstan (KAZ) - Olga Rypakova (women’s triple jump)
Lao People's Democratic Republic (LAO) - Silina Pha Aphay (women’s 100m)
Liberia (LBR) - Ebony Morrison (women’s 100m hurdles) and Joseph Fahnbulleh (men’s 200m)
Mauritania (MTN) - Houleye Ba (women’s 100m) and Abidine Abidine (men’s 5000m)
Micronesia (FSM) - Scott James Fiti (men’s 100m)
Nauru (NRU) - Jonah Harris (men’s 100m)
Netherlands (NED) - Churandy Martina (men’s 4x100m)
Palau (PLW) - Adrian Justin Jimena Ililau (men’s 100m)
Panama (PAN) - Alonso Edward (men’s 200m)
Portugal (POR) - Nelson Evora (men’s triple jump)
Refugee Olympic Team (EOR) - Tachlowini Gabriyesos (marathon)
Rwanda (RWA) - John Hakizimana (men’s marathon)
Saint Kitts and Nevis (SKN) - Amya Clarke (women’s 100m) and Jason Rogers (men’s 100m)
Saint Lucia (LCA) - Levern Spencer (women’s high jump)
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (VIN) - Shafiqua Maloney (women’s 800m)
Samoa (SAM) - Alex Rose (men’s discus)
Sao Tome and Principe (STP) - D'Jamila Tavares (women’s 800m)
Saudi Arabia (KSA) - Yasmeen Al Dabbagh (women's 100m)
Sierra Leone (SLE) - Maggie Barrie (women’s 100m)
Solomon Islands (SOL) - Sharon Firisua (women’s marathon)
Somalia (SOM) - Ali Idow Hassan (men’s 1500m)
South Sudan (SSD) - Lucia Moris (women’s 200m) and Abraham Guem (men’s 1500m)
Switzerland (SUI) - Mujinga Kambundji (women's 100m, 200m and 4x100m)
Timor Leste (TLS) - Felisberto de Deus (men’s 1500m)
Trinidad and Tobago (TTO) - Kelly-Ann Baptiste (women’s 100m and 4x100m)
Tuvalu (TUV) - Matie Stanley (women’s 100m) and Karalo Hepoiteloto Maibuca (men’s 100m)
Uruguay (URU) - Deborah Rodriguez (women’s 800m)
Vietnam (VIE) - Thi Lan Quach (women’s 400m hurdles)
List may be subject to change

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