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24 Aug 2008
IOC News , Beijing 2008

Olympic firsts - new countries on the Olympic map

China‘s medal sweep has so far marked the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. However, other countries also managed a breakthrough – not as impressive as the Chinese domination - but still important for their respective countries.
Afghanistan,Togo, Tajikistan and Mauritius on the map
Afghanistan,Togo, Tajikistan and Mauritius made it onto the Olympic medal tally for the first time. Rohullah Nikpai, a taekwondo athlete from Afghanistan and Olympic Solidarity scholarship holder, won his countries first ever Olympic medal in any sport by winning bronze in the men’s under 58kg competition yesterday..Tajik Boqiev Rasul won the bonze medal in the men’s 73kg judo competition. Benjamin Boukpeti was the first canoeist to represent Africa at the Olympic Games. In Beijing, he planned on becoming the first to win a medal and he made it. Boukpeti, an Olympic Solidarity scholarship holder, won the bronze medal. Mauritius’ Bruni Julie won the quarter-final in the bantam boxing competition and is assured at least a bronze medal for his home country, becoming the first ever Mauritian medallist.
First gold medal
Panama made it for the first time onto the highest step of the podium. With his jump to 8.34m, Saladino Aranda joined the only other medallist of his county, Lloyd Lebeach, who took the bronze in the 100m and 200m at the 1948 London Games. 
India’s Abhinav Bindra, an other Olympic Scholarship holder, was received as a hero in his home country as India’s first gold medallist in an individual Olympic event. Bindra won the 10m air rifle shooting event. So far India had won gold medals in Olympic field hockey, with a record strike of six gold medals in a row between the Amsterdam Games in 1928 and the Melbourne 1956 Games. 
Tunisian swimmer Mellouli Oussama caused a sensation in Beijing by winning the first medal in swimming for his country. It has been the first gold medal for Tunisia since legendary runner Mohamed Gammoudi’s win of gold in Mexico City in 1968, when he beat Kip Keino in the 5,000m distance run.
Other firsts
Kyrgyzstan has so far doubled its overall medal wins in Beijing. The so far only medallist of the country – Aldyn Smagulov, bronze in judo at the Sydney 2000 Games – has been joined by two wrestlers, Begaliev Kanatbek, silver medallist in men’s Greco-Roman 66kg, and Tiumenbaev Ruslan, bronze medallist in the men’s Greco Roman 60kg event.
Slovakia has won a medal in a non water discipline for the first time ever. So far all medals had been won in canoeing and swimming. Shooter Zuzana Stefeckova changed this fact by winning a silver medal in the women’s trap shooting event.
Singapore won its second medal at the Beijing Games, the first in a team event. The women’s table tennis team composed of Tianwei Feng, Jia Wei Li, Yue Gu Wang and Bei Bei Sun won the silver medal.
For the first time, a male Vietnamese athlete managed to win a medal joining the so far only female medallist, Tran Hieu Ngan, who won silver in the final of the women’s taekwondo featherweight event at the 2000 Sydney Games. Anh Tuan Hoang won the silver medal in the 56kg weightlifting event.
Japan, the inventor of the Keirin cycling discipline, succeeded for the first time since the Sydney Games, when Keirin was introduced to the programme, to win a medal. Kiyofumi Nagai won the men’s bronze medal.
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