Rwanda has the largest proportion of women in parliament in the world...........retweet
Everyone's Talking about... Togolese Kayaks
I am sorry?
Ok, well maybe not everyone but Benjamin Boukpeti stands a strong chance in this years Olympics.
So Africa isn't all about running?
See Africa Differently!
Tell me more about Mr Boukpeti
He won the first ever Olympic medal for Togo back in 2008 at the Beijing Olympics; his kayaking skills earned him a bronze medal. He has been confirmed as one of the athletes representing Togo at the 2012 Olympic Games, in London, and features in the new television campaign ad in Togo promoting the country’s athletes.
I didn’t know kayaking was an Olympic sport!
Well then you would be interested to know that there are actually two types of kayaking.
Canoe sprint is a straight race on calm waters, but Benjamin takes part in canoe slalom where athletes battle white-water rapids to pass through 25 hanging gates in the fastest time possible.
That sounds exciting... tell me more about him.
30 year-old Boukpeti was born in 1981 in the French village of Lagny. His mother is French and his father is Togolese. After his Olympic success, Benjamin set up a training programme in Togo for young people to create more interest in the sport. 91 kids from the ages of 6 to 13 got involved in learning how to kayak and canoe with an Olympic champion.
Where exactly is Togo?
Good question! Togo is a country in West-Africa sat between Ghana and Benin. It is slightly larger than Scotland and is famous for shipping coffee, cotton and cocoa across the World.
So how does he spend his time when he isn't battling "white-water rapids to pass through 25 hanging gates in the fastest time possible"?
As well as the training programme, Boupekti is a member of “Champions for Peace” A group of sports stars who support local projects, in places like the Ivory Coast and the Democratic Republic of Congo, by encouraging sport. The group also promote peace through speeches, signing charters and reaching out to governments to make a difference in communities.
Wow there's more to him than a paddle! What are his chances of winning a medal?
Benjamin faces tough competition from the likes of Germany’s gold medallist Alexander Grimm and British champion David Florence at the London games. However, he was the surprise winner in Beijing after poor performances in heats so Boukpeti may prove to be the underdog success.
What has the media said about Benjamin Boukpeti?
“He has created history for his country at the Olympics in Beijing” - Sky Sports
“The biggest cheer from the packed crowd was reserved for world number 56, Boukpeti.” - BBC News
“A hero to his people” - The Guardian
What does he say about his work?
“It was natural, being the first Togolese canoe Olympic medal winner, to bring this sport to Togo”
Area: 35,284 sq miles
Population: 6,027,798 (World Bank, 2010)
Languages: French, Ewe, Mina
The stereotype of Africa is not its reality. It’s a growing continent and I’ll be writing about the exciting changes that are happening everyday.
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