Ruth Gbagbi, already medalist in 2016 at the Rio Games with bronze, did it again this Monday, July 26, this time in Tokyo, and always with the same metal. She beat Brazilian Milena Titoneli in the bronze final.
And bis repetita! As in Rio five years ago, Ruth Gbagbi climbed on the Olympic podium. She is the first representative from West Africa to win a medal since the start of the Tokyo Olympics.
“I will never forget August 19, 2016,” said the Ivorian athlete, who has been practicing taekwondo since he was 9 years old. She should also keep this new date in the back of her head. Certainly, she was certainly aiming for another result for these Games in Japan. But today she still won the fourth Olympic medal in Ivory Coast’s history at the Games.
Titled five times at the African Championships
Ruth Gbagbi advanced to the quarter-finals after the disqualification of Congolese Naomie Katoka, who did not appear for the weigh-in on Sunday. She defeated Mengyu Zhang of China in the next round before being defeated in the semifinals by Britain’s Lauren Willians. Much to the Ivorian’s delight, taekwondo reappeared as a medal sport in Sydney in 2000. The Abidjan woman became world champion in 2017 in the sport’s country, South Korea.
Practiced by around 80 million people in more than 200 countries and territories, taekwondo is a popular sport in Côte d’Ivoire. “Taekwondo has given me respect and then I can manage my emotions. Before I skipped school, I hung out in the neighborhood, I liked playing video games, but as soon as I joined the national team I did “training study rest”, it was routine, it fit me, and that allowed me to be who I am today, ”she said just before the start of the Games.
Titled five times at the African Championships, and gold medal at the 2015 African Games in Brazzaville, Ruth Gbagbi is the second woman from West Africa to claim two medals at the Olympics. Cameroonian Françoise Mbango, a triple jump specialist, was adorned with gold at the Games in Athens in 2004 and Beijing in 2008.
Unlike 2016, there was no gold medal for Côte d’Ivoire as his compatriot Cheick Cissé was eliminated in the round of 16 by Moroccan Achraf Mahboubi.