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SPORTS

Kenyan national anthem rings loud at 2020 Tokyo Olympics closing ceremony

SPORTS By Robert Abong'o | August 8th 2021

Kenya's Eliud Kipchoge after receiving his Gold medal at the closing ceremony of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics [Olympics: Twitter]

The 2020 Tokyo Olympics came to a close on Sunday, August 8 at the Olympic Stadium, Tokyo after more than a fortnight of competition in 33 sports across 46 disciplines staged in 43 locations, all for a total of 339 medal events.

It is safe to say the Games lived up to their hype, with new champions emerging and records being broken and set. 

Kenyan athletes flew our flag high at Tokyo and at the closing ceremony, no other national anthem rang loud as the Kenyan one, as our star men and women came to collect their medals. 

Eliud Kipchoge and Peres Jepchirchir each got a gold medal, with compatriot Brigid Kosgei picking silver. As Kenya’s anthem played in Tokyo, one could see the joy on our athletes' faces. 

Kipchoge, the world record holder, broke from the rest of the field after 30km and went on to win a gold medal at the Men’s marathon, clocking 2:08:38. This was his second consecutive gold medal at the Games having won one at the 2016 Olympics in Brazil.

Two-time world half marathon champion Jepchirchir clocked an impressive 2:27:20 to claim Gold in the Women’s marathon, 16 seconds ahead of compatriot Brigid Kosgei. 

Kenya's Peres Jepchirchir Eliud poses with her Gold medal at the closing ceremony of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics [Olympics: Twitter]

The closing ceremony kicked off with the arrival of The Japanese Crown Prince Akishino and International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach. The Japanese flag was then carried into the stadium, on the backdrop of a lovely violin theme.

The Takarazuka Revue performed the Japanese national anthem. 

Athletes from the different countries and disciplines began entering the stadium starting with Greece, led by Ioannis Fountoulis, who won silver in the Men’s Water Polo event. 

The Refugee Olympic Team followed, with the flag held high by Hamoon Derafshipour. He missed out on a karate medal after finishing fifth in the Men’ 67kg category.

Ireland followed, with Natalya Coyle carrying the Irish flag. Natalya finished 24th in the Women's modern pentathlon.

Wrestler Haji Aliyev, who grabbed the Silver medal in the Men's Freestyle Wrestling carried Azerbaijan’s flag.

Algeria’s flag came next, with 22-year-old boxer Imane Khelif appearing at the stadium. Algeria failed to get a single medal at this year’s Olympics. 

Argentina was represented next - hockey player Pedro Ibarra carried the country’s flag. 

Next, it’s Armenia, with Armenian boxer Hovhannes Bachkov carrying their national flag after winning bronze in the men's light division.

After representing Antigua and Barbuda in the Men's 100m sprint, Cejhae Greene carried the country’s flag at the closing ceremony.

Pol Moya represented Andorra. He ran in the men's 800m last week in only his second Olympic Games.

The next flag was Israel’s, with gymnast Linoy Ashram carrying it. She won gold in the individual all-around in just her first Olympics appearance. 

Lamont Marcell Jacobs, the Men’s 100m sprint gold medal winner then entered the stadium carrying Italy’s flag. 

The Olympic torch and cauldron [Reuters]

Carrying the Islamic Republic of Iran’s flag was Amir Hossein Zare, a 20-year-old who won bronze in Men's freestyle wrestling. 

Bajrang carried India’s flag entering the stadium. He won bronze in Men's freestyle Wrestling. 

Uganda’s flag bearer was Peruth Chemutai, who won gold in the Women's 3000m steeplechase. 

Ukraine was next, with Canoe sprinter Liudmyla Luzan being their flag bearer. Luzan won two medals: a bronze in the Women's 200m singles and Silver in the 500m doubles. 

Uzbekistan came next, the flag being held by 21-year-old weightlifter Akbar Djuraev who won gold.

Maria Pia Fernandez carried Uruguay’s flag at the closing ceremony. 

For Great Britain, cycler Laura Kenny carried the flag. She won gold and silver. 

Ecuador followed, and Glenda Morejon carried their flag. Morejon participated in the Women's 20km race but failed to finish.

Giana Lotfy carried Egypt’s flag after winning bronze in the Women’s Kumite. 

Maicel Uibo was next as Estonia's flag-bearer after finishing 17th in this year’s decathlon. 

Estwatini's flag carrier was by Sibusiso Matsenjwa. He ran is the Men’s 200m and made it to the semi-final.

Ethiopia’s flag was next, with 10,000 meters’ gold medal winner Selemon Barega carrying their flag.

Then came Eritrea. Marathoner Nazret Weldu carried the nation’s flag after finishing 43rd.

The music being played by the Olympic parade was the Olympic march, written particularly for the Tokyo Games by composer, Yuji Koseki.

El Salvador’s flag came out next, with Yamileth Solorzano as the flag bearer. She finished 17th in the Women's Featherweight.

Mathew Belcher carried the Australian flag as he entered the stadium. He brought home Gold along with partner Will Ryan in the men's 470 sailing class. 

Andreas Mueller carried Austria's flag. He competed in both the men's Omnium and Madison in cycling. 

Netherlands’ flag came out, Sifan Hassan, as expected, carrying it. Sifan won bronze in the Women's 1500m, Gold in the 5000m and another Gold in the 10,000m.

Timothy Cheruiyot was Kenya’s flag bearer at the closing ceremony. Cheruiyot won Silver in the men's 1500m. 

It is important to note the order in which the athletes' parade came was based on the Japanese alphabet. 

All other nations come out in order including Canada, Gambia, North Macedonia, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Cuba, Kiribati, Kyrgyzstan, Guatemala, Guam, Grenada, Croatia, Cote d’Ivoire, Costa Rica, Kosovo, Comoros, Colombia, Congo, Samoa, Zambia, San Marino, Russian Olympic Committee, Djibouti, Jamaica, Georgia, Singapore, Zimbabwe, Switzerland, Sweden, Spain, Sri Lanka, Slovakia, Slovenia, Seychelles, Senegal, Serbia, Sain lucia, Solomon Islands, Thailand, Republic of Korea, Chinese Taipei, Czech republic, People’s Republic of China, Tunisia, Chile, Tuvalu, Denmark, Togo, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, Nigeria, Nauru, Namibia, new Zealand, Norway, Bahrain, Haiti, Pakistan, Panama, Vanuatu, Bahamas, Paraguay, Barbados, Hungary, Fiji, Phillipines, Finlad, Bhutan, Puerto rico, Brazil, Bulgaria, American Samoa, Virgin island, Venezuela, Belarus, Belize, Peru, Belgium, Poland, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Bolivia, Portugal, Hong Kong, Honduras, Malaysia, South Africa, South Africa, Mexico, Republic of Moldova, Morocco, Mongolia, Montegegro, Jordan, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Latvia, Lithuania, Libya, Liechtenstein, Romania, Luxembourg, Rwanda, Lesotho, USA, France and the host nation Japan. 

Japan’s Karate gold medallist Ryo Kiyuna carried their flag. The 31-year-old won his first-ever Olympic gold just two days ago in the men's final.

The closing ceremony did not have flag bearers from Myanmar, Mauritius, Mauritania, Mozambique, Maldives, Marshall Islands, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Malta, Micronesia, Burkina Faso, Brunei Darussalam, Burundi, Vietnam, Benin, Papua New Guinea, Bermuda, Palau, Palestine, Bangladesh, Democratic Republic of Timor- Leste, Turkmenistan, Tonga, Nicaragua, Niger, and Nepal since they had already left the event. 

ALL ATHLETES COME OUT: 

All athletes who participated in the Games emerged from all corners of the Stadium. 

The flag parade went on with Ghana next. Samuel Takyi, who won bronze in Men's Featherweight boxing carried their flag. 

Daniel David Varela de Pina then entered the stadium carrying Cape Verde’s flag.

Guyana was represented by Emmanual Archibald, who ran the men's 100 metres.

Kazakhstan's flag was carried by Kamshybek Kunkabayev. — who won bronze in men's Super-Heavyweight boxing.

Kenyan marathon runners get medals

Kenya’s Peres Jepchirchir, gold medal winner in the Women’s marathon was awarded at the closing ceremony, along with compatriot Brigid Kosgei, who received her Silver at the podium. The beautiful Kenyan national anthem was then played for the first time played.

Eliud Kipchoge, the record-breaker, was also given his Gold medal at the podium. Kipchoge made light work of other athletes in the Men’s marathon. As the Kenyan national anthem played again, jubilation could be seen in Kipchoge’s eyes - the pride and satisfaction of representing a whole nation. 

The Kenyan national anthem rang through the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo, as the world witnessed another show of Kenyan dominance at the Olympics. 

IOC Athlete’s Commission new members get awards 

Kenya rugby sevens star Humphrey, Spanish basketball player Pau Gasol, Italian swimmer Frederica Pellegrini, Japan fencer Yuki Ota and Poland cyclist Maja Wloszczowska all got awards of recognition. 

Traditional dances close the ceremony:

Japanese drummers got on stage led by the Aoi Yamada dancers. A series of traditional dances ensued including the Ainu, followed by the Ryukyu Eisa, featuring barefoot performers in outfits resembling those of monks. Other traditional dance performers include the Nishimonai Bon and the Gujo Odori. 

An orchestra takes over, with beautiful tunes at the closing ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics. 

Olympic flag lowered

The Olympic flag is lowered

The Olympic anthem played as the Olympic flag was lowered, signifying an end to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. The Olympic flag is handed to the Mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo from the Governor of Tokyo, Yuriko Koike. 

International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach concluded with a speech, thanking everyone who made sure the pandemic was not a hindrance to holding the Games, having been postponed last year. 

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