Tokyo Olympics: SA swimmer Tatjana Schoenmaker wins gold and sets world record

South African swimmer Tatjana Schoenmaker lit up the pool on day seven of the Tokyo Olympics as she claimed a gold and a world record.

The athletics events also began on Friday with Ivory Coast’s Marie-Josee Ta Lou equalling the African 100m record as she qualified for Saturday’s semi-finals.

South Africa’s Tatjana Schoenmaker won her second medal of the Games as she posted one of the stand out performances in Tokyo as she broke the world record to win gold the women’s 200m breaststroke.

Her time of 2:18.95 eclipsed the record of Denmark’s Rikke Moller Pedersen sent in 2013.

It was a second medal of the Games for the 24-year-old South African after she won silver in the 100m breaststroke.

“It still hasn’t sunk in. I don’t wish my Olympic dream over, but I am excited to go and celebrate even just being at the Olympics with my parents,” she said after her victory.

She also paid tribute to fellow South African and 1996 double Olympic breaststroke champion Penny Heyns.

“I see her (Heyns) at major competitions which is amazing. For her to come and say good luck and congrats is so special because she used to be such an amazing swimmer and has such a name in the swimming world,” she added.

“For her to come to us – even though I haven’t achieved much yet – is very special.”


Ivory Coast’s Marie-Josee Ta Lou clocked the fastest time in the women’s 100m heats to qualify for tomorrow’s semi finals.

She clocked 10.78 seconds to equal her compatriot’s Murielle Ahoure African record for the distance. Ahoure also went through having finished third in her heat.

Three other African qualified for the semi finals – the Nigerian duo of Blessing Okagbare and Grace Nwokocha as well as The Gambia’s Gina Bass, who set a new national record of 11.12s in her heat.

I am just in shock, I know I was ready but I was not planning to run fast in the first heat I just run relaxed I push for 50m and then I was gone, that track must be fast, so we will see tomorrow,” Ta Lou said after her race.

“My training since 2019 has not been that easy because I have had many injuries even this year, I didn’t know how fast I was going to be but God knows best.”

In the men’s 3,000m steeplechase Ethiopia’s Lamecha Girma qualified fastest for Monday’s final and will be joined in that race by compatriot Getnet Wale.

Also through are Kenyans Benjamin Kigen and Abraham Kibiwott, Eritrean Yemane Haileselassie as well as Moroccan duo Soufiane El Bakkali and Mohamed Tindouft.

In the women’s 800m, Uganda’s Winnie Nanyondo, Ethiopia’s Habitam Alemu Benin’s Noelie Yarigo finished second in their respective heats to qualify for Saturday’s semi-finals.

Kenya’s Mary Moraa and Moroccan Rababe Arafi also qualified with a third place finishes in their heats while Ugandan world champion Halimah Nakaayi qualified among the six best losers.

The Kenyan duo of former world champion Eunice Sum and Emily Tuei both failed to progress..

In the men’s high jump Kenya’s Matthew Sawe could only manage a clearance of 2.17 metres which was not enough for him to compete in Sunday’s final.

Beach Volleyball

In the men’s event Morocco’s Mohammed Abicha and Elgraoui Zouheir suffered their third straight sets defeat at the hands of Chilean cousins Marco Grimalt and Esteban Grimalt 2-0 (21-14, 21-12). It means the Moroccan pair are now out of the Olmypics.


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