News Brief

Four African Paralympians Ran the 1500 Meters Faster Than Their Able-Bodied Counterparts

Algerian, Kenyan and Ethiopian visually impaired runners outperform Olympians. The Ethiopian crosses fists in solidarity with Oromo protests.

I have to admit that when I heard that four Paralympians just ran the men's 1500 meter faster than the able-bodied Olympians at the Rio games, I assumed it was because of some carbon fibre blade technology à la Oscar Pistorius.


Here's a perfect example of how biases warp perspective. Specifically my biases warping my perspective—the runners were competing in the visually impaired classification.

Nonetheless, they all ran faster than Olympic gold medalist Michael Centrowitz who finished in 3:50. By comparison the fourth placed Paralympian Fouad Baka came in at 3 minutes and 49.59. Baka's brother Abdellatif Baka won gold in a time of 3:48.29.

And one other thing, they're all Africans. Besides the Algerian Brothers, there was the bronze medalist Henry Kirwa from Kenya and silver medalist Tamiru Demisse of Ethiopia.

Demisse also made news at the finish line by crossing his fists above his head—a show of solidarity with Ethiopian anti-government protesters. This echoes his countryman, the marathon runner Feyisa Lelisa, at the Olympics, who is now looking for asylum in the United States after making a similar gesture.

Interview

A Candid Conversation With Olamide & Fireboy DML

We talk to the Nigerian stars about the hardest lessons they've learned, best advice they've ever been given and what Nigeria means to them.

Olamide and Fireboy DML have been working together for three years, but the first time they sit down to do an interview together is hours after they arrive in New York City on a promo tour.

It's Fireboy's first time in the Big Apple — and in the US — and the rain that's pouring outside his hotel doesn't hinder his gratitude. "It's such a relief to be here, it's long overdue," he tells OkayAfrica. "I was supposed to be here last year, but Covid stopped that. This is a time to reflect and refresh. It's a reset button for me."

Olamide looks on, smiling assuredly. Since signing Fireboy to his YBNL Nation label in 2018, he's watched the soulful young singer rise to become one of Nigeria's most talked-about artists — from his breakout single, "Jealous," to his debut album Laughter, Tears & Goosebumps, hit collabs with D.Smoke and Cuppy, and his sophomore release, Apollo, last year.

Even while he shares his own latest record, UY Scuti, with the world, Olamide nurtures Fireboy's career with as much care and attention as he does his own, oscillating between his two roles of artist and label exec seamlessly. His 2020 album Carpe Diem is the most streamed album ever by an African rap artist, according to Audiomack, hitting over 140 million streams. When Olamide signed a joint venture with US-based record label and distribution company, Empire, in February last year he did so through his label, bringing Fireboy and any other artist he decides to sign along for the ride, and establishing one of the most noteworthy deals on the continent.

Below, Olamide & Fireboy DML speak to OkayAfrica about their mutual admiration for each other, what makes them get up in the morning and how they switch off.

Keep reading... Show less

get okayafrica in your inbox

popular.

Adekunle Gold Is Living His Best Life

We speak to the Nigerian star about how marriage and fatherhood have led him to find both newfound happiness and newfound freedom as an artist.