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Last Updated: Tuesday, 31 August, 2004, 09:49 GMT 10:49 UK
African Olympic round-up
BBC News Online provides a regular summary of African news from the Olympic Games in Athens.

Monday 30 August

African athletes return home from the Athens Olympics to a mixed reception after winning a total of 35 medals including nine gold, 13 silver and 13 bronze medals; the same number they won at the Sydney Olympics.

Africa's Olympic medals table
Ethiopia - 1st
Morocco - 2nd
Kenya - 3rd
South Africa - 4th
Egypt - 5th
Zimbabwe - 6th
Cameroon - 7th
Nigeria - 8th
Eritrea - 9th

Bands played and thousands of Ethiopians cheered and waved flags to welcome their team home as heroes - their tally of seven medals, including two golds was the highest in Africa.

There was a similar reception in Egypt, with streets from the airport crowded with well wishers.

But Tanzanian athletes, who won not a single medal, were greeted by newspaper headlines demanding an explanation for the country's poor performance, and calls for the minister of sport to apologise to the nation.

Behind the statistics are stories of success overcoming real hardship: Cameroon's Francoise Mbango Etone won gold in the triple jump without a trainer.

And Africa's total would have been considerably higher if a number of athletes had not taken their talents abroad: former Nigerian runner Francis Obikwelu now insists he is Portuguese and Mebrahtom Keflezighi who won a silver medal in the men's marathon for the United States was Eritrean until his family left the country in 1987.

Sunday 29 August

There was disappointment for Africa in the final race of the 2004 Olympics - the men's marathon. Kenya's world record holder Paul Tergat was the race favourite but could finish no higher than tenth. Italy's Stefano Baldini won the race in a time of two hours, ten minutes and fifty-five seconds, with America's Mebrahtom Keflezighi taking silver and Brazil's Vanderlei de Lima winning bronze. Erick Wainaina was the highest-placed African, with the Kenyan finishing seventh, while Morocco's Jaouad Gharib was eleventh.

After the marathon, there were no more medals on offer - leaving America, with 35 golds and 103 medals overall, at the top of the medals table. Down in 28th place, one finds the highest-placed African nation - Ethiopia, who won two golds and seven medals overall. Next up are Morocco, who took two golds and three medals overall, and then come the African nations who won no more than one gold medal.

Kenya picked up seven medals overall, South Africa follow with six and then Egypt with five medals. The Egyptians lost the chance to win their second gold medal on Sunday when boxer Mohamed Aly failed to pass his pre-fight medical ahead of the super heavyweight final. Aly, the first Egyptian to reach a boxing final, was due to fight Russia's Alexander Povetkin but pulled a shoulder muscle in his semi-final victory.

Zimbabwe finished in sixth place for Africa in the medals table, followed by Cameroon and then Nigeria - whose two bronze medals in Saturday night's relay races were their first of the Games. And finally, Eritrea prop up the table with their first ever Olympic medal, after Zersenay Tadesse won bronze in the men's 10000 metres.

Saturday 28 August

Morocco's Hicham El Guerrouj wrote himself into the record books when he won the men's 5000 metres to become the first man in 80 years to do the 1500 and 5000 double. Finland's Paavo Nurmi had achieved the feat in 1924. El Guerrouj beat race favourite Kenenisa Bekele of Ethiopia in a time of 13 minutes 14.39 seconds, forcing Bekele, the world record holder, to settle for silver while 2003 world champion Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya finished third. Zersenay Tadesse, who won Eritrea's first Olympic medal in the 10000 metres, crossed the line in seventh position.

Nigeria won its first medal of the games, when the men's 4 by 100 relay team took bronze in the final. The race was won by Great Britain, with America in second place,but Nigeria posted a season's best of 38.23 seconds to take a medal. The four sprinters were Olusoji Fasuba, Uchenna Emedolu, Aaron Egbele and Deji Aliu.

Having waited ages for its first medal in Athens, Nigeria received its second less than an hour later. James Godday, Musa Audu, Saul Weigopwa and Enefiok Udo Obong won bronze in the 4 x 400 metre relay final, finishing behind America, who took gold in a time of 2 minutes 55.91 seconds, and Australia. Botswana came last, although they set a season's best of three minutes 2.49 seconds in the process.

Russia's Yuriy Borzakovskiy, the only non-African by birth in the final of the men's 800 metres, won a fiercely-fought final ahead of South Africa's Mbulaeni Mulaudzi, who set a season's best to take silver. Denmark's Kenyan-born Wilson Kipketer won bronze, while race favourite Wilfred Bungei of Kenya finished fifth.

High jumper Hestrie Cloete failed in her bid to become the first South African women to win an athletics gold medal since 1952 when she had to settle for silver in the women's final. Russia's Yelena Slesarenko won gold with an Olympic record of 2.06 metres, while Cloete could go no higher than 2.02. Viktoriya Styopina of the Ukraine took bronze.

Another African to suffer disappointment was Morocco's Hasna Benhassi, who finished twelfth in the final of the women's 1500 metres. Great Britain's Kelly Holmes took gold, just as she did in the 800 metres final where Benhassi had won silver.

Friday 27 August

Egypt's Mohamed Aly caused a massive upset in the boxing semi-finals when he outpointed Cuban Michel Lopez in the super heavyweight division. The win means that Aly is guarnateed either a silver or gold medal. His compatriot Ahmed Ismail had to settle for a bronze in the light heavyweights after he lost on points to Belarus's Magomed Aripgdjiev in his semi-final. A third Egyptian, Mohamed Elsayed, also won a bronze in the heavyweight section.

Ethiopia won its fifth and sixth medals of the Games - but not the one the nation wanted in Friday's final of the women's 10,000 metres. Huina Xing of China was a surprise winner in a time of 30 minutes, 24.36 seconds. The Ethiopian Ejegayeh Dibaba had led into the final bend but was outsprinted by the Chinese woman into second place, while Derartu Tulu took bronze. Another Ethiopian, Werknesh Kidane, finished fourth.

Nigeria finished seventh in the women's 4 x 100 metre relay final. The race was won by Jamaica, Russia finished second while world champions France took bronze.

Nigeria's men's 4 x 100 metre relay team reached Saturday's final when winning their heat. However, Ghana will not be in the final after finishing sixth in theirs.

Nigeria's women's 4 x 400 team will not be in the final, and neither will the Ghanaians nor Cameroonians. Nigeria came last in their heat, Cameroon second last in the same race while Senegal finished eighth of eight in the other.

Botswana made it through to the final of the men's 4 x 400 as a fastest loser with a season's best of 3:03.32. Nigeria also recorded a season's best - 3:01.60 - and qualified as the second fastest of the eight finalists, prompting hopes of a first Athens 2004 medal. In the same heat as Nigeria, South Africa had a disastrous race as they dropped their baton and did not finish.

Thursday 26 August

There was African disappointment in the three finals - all in men's events - that took place on Thursday.

In the showpiece event of the night, the mens' 200 metres final, Namibian veteran Frankie Fredericks could only finish fourth - albeit in a season's best of 20.14 seconds. It was the 36-year-old's farewell to the Olympics - where he has won four silver medals in the sprints. America's Shaun Crawford won gold, leading home an American 1-2-3 finish. Stephane Buckland of Mauritius finished sixth.

There was further disappointment for Mauritius in the final of the men's long jump. Jonathan Chimier could only finish tenth, while Ghanaian Ignasious Gaisah's best jump of 8.24 metres - which left him sixth - was 35 centimetres behind the American gold medallist Dwight Phillips.

And in the final of the men's 400 metres hurdles, South Africa's Alwyn Myburgh finished seventh, in a race won by the dominant Felix Sanchez of the Dominican Republic.

Africans enjoyed better fortune in the heats. Nigeria's women are into the final of Friday's 4 by 100 metre final. The Nigerians finished fourth in their heat but qualified as one of the fastest losers, albeit with a time that leaves them fifth fastest of the eight teams in the final. America are the favourites for the event.

Six Africans made it through to Friday's final of the 800 metres - Djabir Said Guerni (Algeria), Mbulaeni Mulaudzi (South Africa), Wilfred Bungei (Kenya), Mouhssin Chehibi (Morocco), Hezekiel Sepeng (South Africa) and Ismail Ahmed Ismail (Sudan). However, Ethiopia's Berhanu Alemu, Kenya's Joseph Mutua, Burundi's Jean Patrick Nduwimana and Amine Laalou of Morocco failed to progress past the semi-finals.

Morocco's Hasna Benhassi has the chance of landing her second medal of the Games with the 26-year-old, who won silver in the women's 800 metres, having qualified for the final of the 1500 metres, which will take place on Saturday. Kenya's Nancy Jebet Lagat, Ethiopia's Kutre Dulecha and Algeria's Nahida Touhami failed to qualify.

In the women's high jump, the only African competitor - Hestrie Cloete of South Africa - flew into Friday's final. The double world champion cleared every jump to the qualifying height of 1.95 metres by big margins. Cloete is bidding to become the first South African woman to win an Olympic athletics medal since 1952.

Egypt's Olympic campaign took a massive boost on Thursday when Greco-Roman wrestler Karam Ibrahim won his nation's first Olympic gold medal since 1948. Ibrahim beat Georgia's Ramaz Nozadze in the 96 kilogram division.

And in tae-kwondo, another Egyptian - Tamer Bayoumi - won bronze after beating Spain's Juan Ramos in the men's under 58 kilogram category.

After a poor start, the 2004 Olympics are now looking bright for Egypt and on Friday, three Egyptian boxers will look to improve on their guaranteed bronze medals when they contest their semi-finals. Egypt's medal haul is already the country's best in 56 years.

In women's handball, Angola finally won their first match of the Games when beating host nation Greece by a comfortable 38 points to 23. The game was a classification match, and determined that Angola finished ninth - rather than tenth and last.

South Africa's women's hockey team played their final match of the tournament early on Thursday morning, and finished on a winning note - beating Spain 4-3 in a classification match. The South Africans thus finish ninth out of the ten teams taking part in the competition.

Wednesday 25 August

South Africa won the All-African men's hockey derby against Egypt. The game was a classification match and in the end the South Africans avenged their defeat in last October's All Africa Games final with a 5-1 victory. South Africa will play-off against Britain on Friday for ninth place while Egypt face Argentina to determine who finishes eleventh or twelfth - that is bottom of all the teams in Athens.

In boxing, Nambian flyweight Paulus Ambunda failed to secure his country's first medal of the games when he lost to Germany's Rustamhodza Rahimov in the quarter-finals.

Egyptian light-heavyweight Ahmed Ismail's quarter-final victory over Greek boxer Elias Pavlidis last night is under appeal after the Greek Olympic Committee claimed the Egyptian had dealt several unfair blows. Meanwhile, Uganda's Sam Rukundo, who lost his quarter-final lightweight bout on Tuesday, says he now hopes to leave the amateur ranks and turn professional.

Ethiopia's Kenenisa Bekele, the new Olympic 10,000 metres champion, and Morocco's Hicham El Guerrouj, fresh from winning the 1500 metres last night, guaranteed that Friday's 5000 metre final will be a spectactular. Both came through their heat, and both now have a chance of a unique double.

Should Bekele triumph on Friday, he will be the first man to do an Olympic 5000 and 1000 double since his compatriot Miruts Yifter in 1980. Meanwhile, El Guerrouj is looking to achieve only the second 1500 and 5000 double in history, the first coming some 80 years ago.

Egypt's water polo team were thrashed 12-1 by Croatia in a classification match. The Egyptians face Kazakhstan on Friday to determine whether they finish eleventh - or twelfth and last.

Zimbabwean swimmer Kirsty Coventry arrived back in Harare on Wednesday to a hero's welcome. 10,000 fans flooded the national airport, where a special function had been arranged in the airport lounge in her honour. With sports minister Aeneas Chigwedere in attendance, the government gave the 19-year-old a brand new car and promised her some US$15,000.

Tuesday 24 August

Moroccan Hicham El Guerrouj finally won the one race he has wanted to all his life - the Olympic 1500 metre final. After failures in 1996 and 2000, El Guerrouj won a stunning final, beating arch-rival Bernard Lagat of Kenya in a classic home-straight duel. El Guerrouj came home in three minutes 34.18 seconds, just ahead of Lagat's 3:34.30, while Rui Silva of Portugal took bronze.

Kenya dominated the men's 3,000 metre steeplechase in spectacular fashion, as Ezekiel Kemboi led home his compatriots Brimin Kipruto and Paul Koech. Kemboi's gold, in a time of 8 minutes 5.81 seconds, is Kenya's first of the 2004 Olympics.

Frankie Fredericks of Namibia and Stephane Buckland of Mauritius will contest the men's 200 metres semi-finals after making it through the second round of heats.

Nigeria's women's basketball team made history on Tuesday. The Nigerians beat South Korea 68-64 in a qualification match to register the first African women's victory in a basketball match at the Olympics. Both the Democratic Republic of Congo and Senegal failed to win a game in the last two Olympics.

Angola's men's team had no such luck however and the African champions they went down 85-62 against Serbia and Montenegro in their classification match to finish twelfth and last in the competition.

In handball, Egypt's men were defeated by Slovenia 30-24 in their classification match and so, like Angola's basketballers, finish twelfth and last in the copmetition. Egypt have lost all six of the games they have played in Athens.

In athletics, Todd Matthews of Sudan made it through the first round of the men's 110 metre hurdles - setting a new national record in the process.

Monday 23 August

Day 10 of the Olympics presented more mixed fortunes for African teams and competitors.

In boxing, Nigeria's Muideen Ganiyu failed to make the semi-finals of the featherweight division after losing to Kim Song-Guk of South Korea. Another Nigerian, Nestor Bolum, went out at the same stage - although in the bantamweight division. But one African through to a semi-final bout is an aptly-named heavyweight from Egypt, Mohamed Aly, who beat Jaroslav Jaksto of Lithuania.

In Athens' Olympic Stadium, Cameroon's Francoise Mbango Etone became the first woman to ever win a medal for her nation - and it was a gold one at that. The triple jumper became only the second black African athlete to ever win an Olympic field event, following in the footsteps of Nigerian long jumper Chioma Ajunwa in the 1996 Olympics. Etone jumped 15.30 metres - a new African record - to beat local Greek hero Hrysopiyi Devetzi and hot favourite Tatyana Lebedeva of Russia. The gold medal is only Cameroon's second following their footballers' triumph in Sydney four years ago.

While Etone was celebrating her stunning performance, Maria Mutola of Mozambique was left to consider her demise as the undisputed queen of women's 800 metres running. Looking to become the first woman to ever successfully defend the 800 metres title, the Maputo Express could only finish fifth in her race - which was won by Britain's Kelly Holmes in an exciting finish. Mutola's pain was Morocco's gain as Hasna Benhassi finished strongly to take silver, although a photo finish was needed to judge she had crossed the line before Slovenia's Jolanda Ceplak.

Better fortune for Africa came in the women's 5000 metres where Ethiopia's Meseret Defar led home an African 1-2-3. Defar timed her run to the finish perfectly, kicking decisively some 250 metres from home to beat Kenya's Isabella Ochichi, with another Ethiopian - Tirunesh Dibaba - taking bronze.

In hockey, Egypt once again failed to avoid defeat as the men's side lost 3-0 to Spain in their final Group A game. Having missed out on the semi-finals, the All Africa Games champions face South Africa, who were beaten 4-1 by New Zealand in Group B, in a classification match on Thursday. No matter what the outcome of Thursday's match, Egypt's coach Asem Gad has said he will step down after the Olympics.

In other team sports, Tunisia's men's volleyabllers finished their disappointing Olympic campaign in familiar style - as they lost their fifth and final game in Group A. The Tunisians were beaten 3-1 by France.

Angola's men's basketball team also lost on Monday, beaten 89-53 by the United States. There's no shame in losing to the Americans at basketball but the African champions will be disappointed to have lost all five of their Group B games.

In handball, Angola's women also suffered defeat, being beaten 38-22 by Denmark in their final Group B game.

Sunday 22 August

Aziz Zakari of Ghana had a second Olympic men's 100 metres final to forget as, just as he did in Sydney four years ago, the African pulled up and failed to finish the race. Portugal's Nigerian-born Francis Obikwelu took silver in the race, behind winner Justin Gatlin of America, with the defending champion - America's Maurice Greene - finishing third.

Catherine Ndereba won Kenya's first medal of the 2004 Olympics when finishing second in the women's marathon. The race was won by Mizuki Noguchi of Japan, with America's Deena Kastor finishing in third.

It was a worse day for Kenya's women volleyballers who were beaten by three sets to love by Japan. The defeat was the Kenyans' fifth in as many games in Group A, where they finish bottom.

In basketball, Nigeria's women also lost their final group game. Their 93-58 defeat by Russia was the African's fifth defeat in five games and leaves the Africans at the bottom of Group A.

South African hockey player Ian Evans has been suspended for one match for the excessively physical play that earned him a red card in his team's 3-2 defeat by Australia on Saturday. Evans will now miss South Africa's last pool B match against New Zealand on Monday.

Friday 20 August

Ethiopia's Kenenisa Bekele dethroned his elder compatriot Haile Gebrselassie as the king of the Olympic 10,000 metres when he took gold in the first track final, followed by Sileshi Sihine, also of Ethiopia, in second. Zersenay Tadesse of Eritrea finished in third, so claiming his country's first ever Olmpic medal, while Gebrselassie, who was nursing an Achilles tendon injury coming into the race, finished in fifth.

Nigeria's Super Falcons are out of the women's football tournament. They lost 2-1 to Germany, despite leading 1-0 with 14 minutes left.

South African swimmer Roland Schoeman won Africa's fifth medal of the games - and it came in the men's 50 metre freestyle final. Schoeman took bronze to add to the gold he won as part of South Africa's 4x100 metre relay success last Sunday.

Zimbabwean swimmer Kirsty Coventry continued her devastating form in Athens, when she collected a full set of medals in the final of the women's 200m backstroke final. Coventry took gold, to add to the silver she won in the 100m backstroke and the bronze in the 200m individual medley.

In the Olympic stadium, Africans performed poorly in the women's 200m heats. Although Cameroon's Atangana Delphine Bertille, Ghana's Vida Anim, and Nigerian duo Mercy Nku and Endurance made it through the first round, not one of them made it through the second round into the semi-finals.

In boxing, two Africans are through to the quarter-finals. Nigerian featherweight Muideen Ganiyu beat fellow African, Khumiso Ikgopoleng of Botswana, in the second round. If Ganiyu beats Kim Song-Guk of South Korea in his next bout, he will have a chance to fight for a medal in the semi.

In the lightweight division, Sam Rukundo of Uganda narrowly beat Alexander de Jesus of Puerto Rico in his second bout to reach the last eight as well. Rukundo faces Russia's Murat Khrachev for a place in the semi-finals and a potential medal bout.

The first athletics final took place early in the morning - the 20 kilometre walk. The race was won by Italy's Ivano Brugnetti, with Tunisia's Hatem Ghoula the highest-placed African - finishing in tenth place.

African involvement in the men's triple jump ended in the first qualifying round after all three entrants failed to finish in the top twelve. Ghana's Andrew Owusu performed best, with a leap of 16.64 metres - just 37 centimetres behind the last-placed qualifier - while South Africa's Khotso Godfrey Mokoena and Burkina Faso's Olivier Sanon also went out.

In the women's team epee round of 16, Greek fencers beat South Africa 34-15.

South Africa's female hockey players have won their first match of the games, beating Germany 3-0, but the victory was not enough to lift them off the bottom of Group B.

Thursday 19 August

In basketball, Angola's men were beaten 83-80 by Puerto Rico, their third straight defeat in Group B. The African champions were leading 66-63 at the end of the third quarter, but are now bottom of their group. They next play hosts Greece on Saturday.

Angola's women handballers also suffered disappointment - losing their second Group B game 40-30 against South Korea.

In beach volleyball, South Africa's women ended bottom of their group after losing their final game in straight sets to Italy. Leigh Ann Naidoo and Julia Willand failed to win one of their three games in Athens. This is in direct contrast to South Africa's men's team, who made history on Wednesday when reaching the last 16, the first African team to ever get so far in the competition.

South Africa's men's hockey also lost, beaten 3-2 by Holland despite leading 2-0 in the first half. The result leaves South Africa fourth in the six-team Group A, and they must now win their final two games against New Zealand and Australia to have any chance of reaching the semi-finals.

And in Group B of the hockey, Egypt were beaten 6-1 by Germany.

In volleyball, Tunisia's men stay bottom of Group A after losing in straight sets to Serbia and Montenegro. The Tunisians need to register their first victory on Poland on Saturday if they are to have any hopes of appearing in the quarter-finals.

In swimming, Zimbabwe's Kirsty Coventry has a chance for her third medal of the games on Friday, having qualified for the 200 metres backstroke final.

South Africa's Roland Schoeman qualified fastest for the men's 50 metre freestyle, and is joined in Friday's final by Algeria's Salim Iles, who qualified fifth fastest from Thursday's semi-finals.

In water polo, Egypt's men were thrashed 15-4 by Greece.

Wednesday 18 August

Wednesday night was a miserable one for African sides in the men's Olympic football tournament.

Ghana were beaten 1-0 by Japan and went out of the competition because they finished third in Group B. The Black Meteors exited because they had scored one goal less than Italy, with whom they finished level on four points and goal difference in Group B. Had Ghana found an equaliser against Japan - or Paraguay scored more than the one in their 1-0 victory over Italy - the Black Meteors would still be in the competition.

OLYMPIC FOOTBALL TOURNAMENT
African men's sides:
Mali, Tunisia, Morocco, Ghana
African women's side:
Nigeria

In Group D, Morocco found themselves going out in similar fashion, finishing behind second-placed Costa Rica on goals scored.

Despite beating eventual group winners Iraq 2-1, thanks to goals from Bouabid Bouden and Salaheddine Aqqal, the north Africans were denied a place in the quarter-finals by an injury time strike for Costa Rica against Portugal. The goal, which gave the Central Americans a 4-2 win, meant they finished level on points and goal difference with Morocco, but ahead on goals scored.

Africa has won its fourth medal of the Olympics - and once again it came in the swimming pool. In the men's 100 metre freestyle final, South Africa's Roland Schoeman took silver behind Holland's Pieter vanden Hoogenbrand, but ahead of Australia's Ian Thorpe. Skoeman's medal is his second of the championship following his gold in South Africa's 4 by 100 metre freestyle relay victory on Sunday.

Yet it was a less productive day for South Africa's women's hockey team whose 3-0 loss to South Korea means they cannot advance from Group A. The defeat is their third in as many games.

Moroccan female weightlifter Wafa Ammouri has been sent home from the Olympics after failing a drugs test. The 19-year-old, who was due to compete in the 63 kilogram division on Wednesday, is the second African to be sent home after Kenyan boxer David Munyasia tested positive for a banned substance last week.

Better news for Africa however is that Ethiopian runner Haile Gebrselassie has said he will compete in the 10,000 metres despite injury. The legendary Ethiopian, who is bidding for an unprecedented third 10,000 metres title in a row, has an Achilles tendon problem in his left leg but still intends to run in Friday's final.

Kenya's women volleyballers lost their third Pool A match, when beaten by three sets to love by South Korea. The defeat is the Kenyans' third in as many games, but captain Violent Baraza told the BBC she will be going all out for victory in her team's final two games - against Italy and then Japan.

Turning to basketball, and Nigeria's women lost to their Greek hosts 83-68 in Group A - the Nigerians' third defeat in as many games.

In the boxing ring, Nigerian heavyweight Emmanuel Izonritei is out, having been beaten by Naser Al Shami of Syria in the second round.

In the light-flyweight division, although Ethiopia's Endalkachew Kebede made it through to the second round, Nigeria's Effiong Okon, Morocco's Redouane Bouchtouk and Uganda's Jolly Katongole all lost in the first round.

Tuesday 17 August

Zimbabwean swimmer Kirsty Coventry took her medal tally to two - and Africa's to three - as she won bronze in the women's 200 metre medley. The race was won by Yana Klochkova of the Ukraine, who fended off American Amanda Beard to finish third with the 19-year-old Zimbabwean setting an African record in a time of two minutes 12.72 seconds.

A big upset came in the first semi-final of the men's 100 metre freestyle, which was won by Algeria's Salim Iles, ahead of Australia's Ian Thorpe and reigning Olympic champion Alexander Popov. Joining Iles in Wednesday's final are South African duo Roland Schoeman and Ryk Neethling, two of the only Africans to have won an Olympic gold medal at the Games so far following the South Africans' stunning victory in the 4 by 100 metre freestyle on Sunday.

In the men's football tournament, Mali have reached the Olympic quarter-finals at their first attempt. They drew 3-3 with South Korea in their final Group A game, although they surrendered a three-goal lead given to them by a hat-trick from Tenema Ndiaye. The West Africans could meet Ghana in the last eight as they play the Group B runners-up - which will be either the Black Meteors, Italy or Paraguay. Ghana play Japan on Wednesday.

However, Tunisia are out of the competition. Although they beat Serbia and Montenegro 3-2, they only finished third in Group C, behind Australia on goal difference. And Morocco must beat Group D leaders Iraq on Wednesday if they are not to go the same way as their fellow north Africans.

In the women's event, Nigeria will face Germany in Friday's quarter-final, despite losing 2-1 to Sweden in their final group E game last night. Mercy Akide gave the Super Falcons a first-half lead, but Sweden struck twice in the second half to stay in the competition.

Two Zimbabweans hoping to follow Kirsty Coventry's lead are the tennis pair Wayne Black and Kevin Ulyett, who reached the quarter-finals when beating Andre Sa and Flavio Saretta of Brazil. The Zimbabwean duo take on India's Mahesh Bhupathi and Leander Paes on Wednesday.

Wayne's sister Cara went out of the women's singles in the second round, losing to America's Chanda Rubin.

Some of the first Africans in action on Tuesday were Angola's men's basketballers, but the African champions lost 83-59 to Australia - their second defeat in as many games in Group B.

Another team struggling to find their form are Tunisia's male volleyballers who were beaten by Argentina by three sets to two - their second loss in Pool A.

In field hockey, South Africa were beaten 4-2 by India in Group B while Pakistan thrashed Egypt 7-0 in Group A.

In the water polo, Egypt, who have yet to win a team match in Athens, were thrashed 13-3 by Germany in Group B, their second defeat in as many games.

In the boxing ring, Africa's terrible performance on Monday saw some improvement on Tuesday. Botwsana's Lechedzani Luza is out of the flyweight competition, but lost to Morocco's Hicham Mesbahi, one of the few African boxers to make it through the first round so far. In the same division, Algeria's Mebarek Soltani lost to Russia's Georgy Balakshin but Soltani's compatriot Malik Bouziane made it through with the bantamweight beating France's Ali Hallab.

In fencing, Senegal's Nafi Toure is out of the individual sabre competition after losing her second round clash against Romania's Catalina Gheorghitoaia.

And in weightlifting, Nigeria's Enga Mohamed could only finish seventh in the women's under 48 kilogram final.

Monday 16 August

The highlight of the day for Africa was another swimming medal - this time from Zimbabwe's Kirsty Coventry as she claimed a silver medal in the 100 metres backstroke. She also set a new African record of one minute 0.50 seconds as she finished behind the USA's Natalie Coughlin. Minutes later, Coventry qualified for the final of the 200m individual medley.

South Africa's female hockey team lost its second round match when suffering a decisive 3-0 defeat at the hands of Australia. The South Africans were unable to capitalise on the many scoring chances they created, failing to score from nine penalty corners, and so suffered their second defeat of their campaign, after losing to Holland on Saturday.

Another African women's team going down 3-0 were Kenya's volleyballers. The Kenyans were playing Brazil in their second game in Pool A, and it's now two defeats in two for the East Africans, who lost to Greece in their opening game on Saturday. Next up are South Korea on Wednesday.

In boxing, South Africa's Bongani Wonderboy Mahlangu failed to live up to his nickname as the lightweight was beaten in his first round bout. The South African was outpointed 22-14 by his opponent from Azerbaijan, Rovshan Huseynov.

On a bad day for Africa, more defeats came in tennis where Lamine Ouahab of Algeria lost in straight sets to Tommy Robredo of Spain in the first round. And after Morocco's Younes El Aynaoui lost to Dominik Hrbaty of Slovakia, Africa no longer has any involvement in the men's singles. El Aynaoui's compatrot Hicham Arazi lost on Sunday.

In the men's beach volleyball competition, South African duo Gershon Rorich and Colin Pocock lost their second Group F fixture. The South Africans were playing Argentina's Mariano Baracetto and Martin Conde, but lost in straight sets. Yet they did win their first tie and must now beat opponents from Portugal on Wednesday in their final group game.

Although two African judo practitioners reached the quarter-finals in the men's lightweight division, that was as far as they got. Algeria's Nouredinne Yagoubi was beaten by Gennadiy Bilodid of the Ukraine, while Mongolia's Damdin Suldbayar of Mongolia accounted for Cameroon's Bernard Sylvain Mvondo.

Sunday 15 August

The South African swimming quartet of Ryk Neethling, Roland Schoeman, Darian Townsend and Lyndon Ferns won Africa's first gold medal, and only medal so far, of the Athens Olympics.

The team won the 400-meter freestyle relay in stunning fashion, setting a world-record time of three minutes 13.17 seconds in the process.

Despite having Michael Phelps in their side, America finished third, only the second time they have ever lost an Olympic 400 free relay.

Ghana's footballers improved their chances of qualifying for the quarter-finals as they came from behind to beat Paraguay in Group B.

Trailing 1-0 with nine minutes left, goals from William Tiero and Stephen Appiah took the Black Meteors second in their group behind Italy on goals scored.

In Group D, Morocco lost 2-1 to Portugal and must now beat group leaders Iraq on Wednesday to have any chance of qualifying.

In volleyball, Tunisia's men were beaten 3-0 by hosts Greece in front of a loud crowd of 8,200 at the 14,000-seat Peace and Friendship Stadium - the largest attendance in the tournament so far.

Egypt's water polo players also had a disappointing day, being thrashed 14-3 by Australia.

In handball, Angola's women went close to upsetting Spain, but Montserrat Puche tied it for the Spaniards at 24-24 with just seconds remaining.

There were mixed fortunes for Africa's two entrants in the men's field hockey, as South Africa defeated Argentina 2-1 while Egypt were beaten 3-1 by Great Britain.

And in basketball, African champions Angola lost 78-73 to Lithuania, who have been bronze medallists at the last three Olympics.

Saturday 14 August

Kenya filed an appeal to Court of Abitration in Sport on Saturday against the expulsion from the Athens Olympics of boxer David Munyasia.

The bantamweight was barred by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) on Tuesday after testing positive for the banned stimulant cathine in an out-of-competition screening in the Olympic village.

IOC officials said cathine is a common drug in east Africa and is found in khat, a leaf that is chewed for its amphetamine-like high.

I have never taken qat or any drug. I believe there was a mistake somewhere
Kenyan boxer David Munyasia
Having returned home on Friday, the boxer denied he had taken anything improper.

"I am clean. I have never taken qat or any drug. I believe there was a mistake somewhere," Munyasia told reporters after arriving in Nairobi.

He added: "I am asking Kenyans to forgive me and I promise to bring them the gold in 2008."

Munyasia said he remembered only drinking coffee and a Red Bull energy drink prior to being tested and taking an antibiotic to clear up a boil.

His was the first positive case among more then 200 dope tests carried out on athletes arriving in Athens since late last month.

The Olympic bantamweight competition begins on Tuesday.


Saturday's results from Athens:

Badminton mixed doubles first round
Tsai Chia-Hsin/Cheng Wen-Hsing (Taiwan) beat Chris Dednam/Antoinette Uys (South Africa) 15-3 15-9
Women's singles first round: Aparna Popat (India) beat Michelle Edwards (South Africa) 11-6 11-3

Handball
Group B: Egypt 28-33 Hungary

Volleyball (women)
Pool A: Kenya 0-3 Greece (7-25, 22-25, 14-25)

Basketball (women)
Group A: Nigeria 73-85 Australia

Boxing (first round bouts)
Light-heavyweight (81kg): Abdelhani Kenzi (Algeria) beat Song Hak-sung (South Korea) points 25-19
Utkirbek Haydarov (Uzbekistan) beat Isaac Ekpo (Nigeria) points 21-11
Ahmed Ismail (Egypt) beat Shohrat Kurbanov (Turkmenistan) points 44-22
Middleweight (75kg): Nabil Kassel (Algeria) beat Glaucelio Abreu (Brazil) points 41-36
Karoly Balzsay (Hungary) beat Mohamed Sahraoui (Tunisia) points 29-24
Hassan Ndam Njikam (Cameroon) beat Juan Jose Ubaldo (Dominican Republic) decision 22-22
Suriya Prasathinphimai (Thailand) beat Joseph Lubega (Uganda) points 30-21
Oleg Mashkin (Ukraine) beat Khotso Godfrey Motau (South Africa) points 25-22

Cycling (men's individual road race)
Tiaan Kannemeyer and Robert Hunter (South Africa) both did not finish.

Table Tennis (women's singles first round)
Silvija Erdelji (Serbia & Montenegro) beat 64-Nesrine Ben Kahia (Tunisia) 11-3 11-1 11-3 11-7
Huang I-Hua (Taiwan) beat Leila Boucetta (Algeria) 11-8 11-3 11-4 11-8
Funke Oshonaike (Nigeria) beat Berta Rodriguez (Chile) 11-9 11-8 11-7 11-9

Hockey (women)
Pool B: South Africa 2-6 Netherlands

Thursday 12 August

Ghana opened their Olympic football campaign with a 2-2 draw against Italy in Group B. The 1992 bronze medallists let slip a two-goal half-time lead, yet the draw was no less than the Italians deserved.

After Emmanuel Pappoe and Stephen Appiah both struck for the Black Meteors, the Italians replied through Giampiero Pinzi and late on through Alberto Gilardino.

The draw leaves both Ghana and Italy on one point behind group leaders Paraguay, who beat Japan 4-3.

In Group D, Morocco drew 0-0 with Costa Rica. Iraq top the group after their 4-2 defeat of Portugal.

Wednesday 11 August

Two days before the official opening of the Athens Olympics, the games' football tournament began to ensure the event finishes on time. In Group A, Mali made a bright start on their Olympic football debut as they held Mexico to a 0-0 draw in Volos.

Meanwhile, Tunisia came from a goal behind to draw 1-1 with Australia in Group C. John Aloisi gave the Australians a late first-half lead before Ali Zitouni levelled for the north Africans in the 69th minute.

Even before a single punch has been thrown at the Olympic boxing tournament, Kenya's only fighter in Athens, David Munyasia, has been sent home. The bantamweight has failed an out-of-competition drug test in Athens. All athletes have been subject to no-notice doping tests since the Olympic village opened on 30 July.

Farah Addo, the president of the Somali Olympic Committee, has been banned from attending the games after a complaint by football's world governing body Fifa. He was given a 10-year ban by Fifa last month after it found him guilty of misusing funds earmarked for the Somali FA.

Zimbabwe's sports minister Aeneas Chigwedere is also being refused a visa to enable him to attend the Olympics, in line with European Union sanctions.

It looks likely that Nigeria's claims on the gold medal for the men's 4X400m relay from Sydney games will be resisted by US Olympic officials. Athletics' governing body cancelled the result from four years ago on the basis that Jerome Young, who ran in the heats in Sydney, failed a drugs test before the games. The US Olympic committee have until 18 September to file an appeal.




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